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Broadway  House  :  Carter  Lane 

London,  E.C.  4 





Broadway  House:   Carter  Lane 

London,  E.C.  4 

First  published  April  1052 
Second  impression  7953 

Printed  in  the  United  States  of  America 



Dr.  Heinrich  Zimmer's  posthumous  chapters  for  a  projected 
volume  on  the  philosophies  of  India  were  found  in  various 
stages  of  completion.  Those  on  the  meeting  of  the  Orient  and 
Occident,  the  Indian  philosophy  of  politics,  Jainism,  Sarikhya 
and  Yoga,  Vedania,  and  Buddhahood  had  served  as  notes  for  a 
course  of  lectures  delivered  at  Columbia  University  in  the 
spring  of  1942,  while  that  on  the  Indian  philosophy  of  duty  had 
opened  the  course  for  the  spring  of  1943.  But  since  hardly  five 
weeks  of  the  latter  term  had  been  completed  when  Dr.  Zimmer 
was  stricken  with  his  final  illness,  his  materials  treating  of  the 
other  phases  of  Indian  thought  remained  in  the  uneven  condi- 
tion of  mere  jottings  and  preliminary  drafts.  All  were  found  in 
a  single,  orderly  file,  however,  so  that  the  problem  of  arranging 
them  was  not  difficult.  Lacunae  could  be  filled  from  other  bun- 
dles of  manuscript,  as  well  as  from  recollected  conversations. 
The  editing  of  most  of  the  chapters,  therefore,  went  rather 
smoothly.  But  toward  the  end  the  condition  of  the  notes  became 
so  rough  and  spotty  that  the  merely  indicated  frame  had  to  be 
filled  in  with  data  drawn  from  other  sources. 

I  have  quoted  only  from  authors  suggested  either  in  Dr. 
Zimmer's  outline  or  in  his  class  assignments,  and  have  named 
them  all  clearly  in  my  footnotes.  In  the  chapter  on  The  Great 
Buddhist  Kings,  which  is  the  first  in  which  this  problem  arose, 
my  chief  authorities  were  The  Cambridge  History  of  India, 
Vol.  I;  E.  B.  Havell,  The  History  of  Aryan  Rule  in  India  from 


the  Earliest  Times  to  the  Death  of  Akbar;  Ananda  K.  Coomara- 
swamy,  Buddhism  and  the  Gospel  of  Buddhism;  T.  W.  Rhys 
Davids,  Buddhism,  Its  History  and  Literature;  S.  Radlukrishnan, 
Indian  Philosophy;  Vincent  A.  Smith,  Asoka,  The  Buddhist 
Emperor  of  India;  and  L.  de  la  Vallee  Poussin's  article  on  the 
Buddhist  Councils  and  Synods  in  Hastings'  Encyclopaedia  of 
Religion  and  Ethics.  The  notes  for  the  chapter  on  Hinayana 
and  Mahayana  Buddhism  were  quite  full,  though  not  yet  ampli- 
fied into  a  continuously  inspired  exposition.  I  simply  arranged 
them  and  opened  the  brief  sentences  into  running  prose,  bridg- 
ing two  short  gaps  with  quotations  from  S.  Radhakrishnan,  as 
indicated  in  my  footnotes.  I  was  particularly  distressed,  how- 
ever, to  find  that  the  materials  for  the  chapters  on  The  Way  of 
the  Bodhisattva,  The  Great  Delight,  and  Tantra  were  very  sparse 
and  only  partially  developed;  lor  these  were  themes  to  which 
Dr.  Zimmer  had  been  devoting  much  attention  during  the  lat- 
ter years  of  his  life,  and  on  which  he  had  been  extraordinarily 
eloquent  in  conversation.  I  could  find  only  a  few  additional 
bits  of  paper  scattered  through  the  volumes  of  his  library,  and 
these  together  with  what  1  remembered  of  our  talks  had  to 
suffice  to  eke  out  the  notes.  The  reader  should  bear  in  mind 
that  in  these  last  pages  Dr.  Zinnncr's  position  may  not  be  quite 
correctly  represented.  I  have  been  able  to  give  only  a  few  brief 
but  precious  fragments,  framed  in  a  setting  largely  quoted  from 
Swami  Nikhilananda's  translation  of  The  Gospel  of  Sri  Ra- 
makrishna  and  Sir  John  Woorlroffe's  Shahli  and  Shakta. 

Obviously,  the  history  of  Indian  philosophy  here  before  us  is 
far  from  what  it  would  have  been  had  Dr.  Zimmer  lived.  The 
broad  sweep  of  the  basic  structural  ideas  carries  to  completion 
of  itself,  however,  even  where  the  outlines  are  no  more  than  in- 
dicated, an  extraordinary  vision  not  only  of  the  Indian  but  also 
of  the  Western  philosophical  development.  Hence,  though  the 
work  as  it  stands  is  visibly  but  a  fragment  (a  large  and  awesome 
fragment,  comparable,  one  might  say,  to  the  unfinished  stupa 


at  Borobudur)  formally  it  makes  a  cogent  and  prodigious  state- 
ment. The  whole  is  conceived  primarily  as  an  introduction  lo 
the  subject,  each  chapter  leading  to  the  next,  and  not  as  a  hand- 
book; but  1  have  supplied  cross-references  and  Mr.  William 
McGuire  has  prepared  a  copious  index,  to  serve  the  reader  wish- 
ing to  study  any  separate  topic.  Guidance  lo  further  reading  will 
be  found  in  the  bibliography  and  in  the  titles  cited  in  the  foot- 

My  profound  thanks  go  to  Swami  Nikhilananda  for  kind  per- 
mission to  quoie  extensively  from  his  translation  of  The  Gospel 
of  Sri  RamakrisJma,  to  Dona  Luisa  Coomaraswamy  for  Plates 
I,  II,  III,  V,  IX,  X,  and  XTI,  Dr.  Stella  Kramrisch  for  Plates 
VIII  and  XI,  and  Dr.  Marguerite  Block  lot  Plate  Via.  The 
Metropolitan  Museum  of  Art  kindly  supplied  Plates  IV  and 
VIb,  the  Morgan  Library  Plate  Vic,  and  the  Asia  Institute 
Plate  VII.  I  owe  much,  moreover,  to  Mrs.  Wallace  Ferguson 
for  assistance  in  the  final  editing  of  the  manuscript,  to  Miss 
Elizabeth  Sherbon  for  three  years  of  tireless  and  painstaking 
typing,  to  Mr.  William  McCiuirc  for  his  meticulous  editing  of  the 
proofs  and  for  his  above-mentioned  index,  and  to  my  wife  for 
all  her  hours  of  listening  and  for  numberless  suggestions. 

J.  c. 

New  York  City 
March  20,  1951 


Editor's  Foreword  v 

List  or  Plates  xiii 

Table  of  Pronunciation  xvi 



i.    The  Roar  of  Awakening  i 

2.  The  Steely  Barb  i.\ 

3.  The  Claims  of  Science  27 
\.  The  Four  Aims  of  Life  3  | 
5.    Release  and  Progress  42 


1.  Philosophy  as  a  Way  of  Life  48 

2.  The  Qualified  Pupil  51 

3.  Philosophy  as  Power  r,6 

4.  "The  Dying  round  the  Holy  Power"  fifi 
r,.    Brahman  ?.| 



1.  The  World  at  War  87 

2.  The  Tyrant  State  93 


3.  Valor  against  Time  98 

4.  The  Function  oi'  Ticachcry  105 

5.  Politic  al  Geometry  113 

6.  The  Seven  AVays  to  Appioath  a  Neighbor  \i8 

7.  The  Universal  King  127 



1.  Caste  and  (he  Four  Life-Stages  151 

2.  Satya  160 

3.  Satyagiaha  ifig 

4.  The  Palace  ol  Wisdom  17a 


1.    JAINISM 

i.    Parsva  1 8 1 

3.    Jaina  Images  205 

3.    The  Makers  of  ilie  Crossing  217 

.{.    The  Qualities  of  Mailer  227 

5.    The  Mask  of  the  Personality  234 

ft.    The  Cosmic  Man  241 

7.  The  Jaina  Doctrine  of  Bondage  248 

8.  lite  Jaina  Dor  trine  of  Release  252 

9.  The  Doctrine  of  Maskarin  Gosala  262 
10.    Man  against  Nature  268 


1.  Kapila  and  Patanjali  280 

2.  Introvert-Concentration  283 

3.  The  Hindrances  29^ 

4.  Integrity  and  Integration  305 

5.  Sankhya  Psychology  314 



1.  Veda  333 

2.  Upanisad  355 

g.    Bhagavad  Gita  378 

4.   Vedanta  409 


1.  Buddhahood  464 

2.  The  Great  Buddhist  Kings  488 

3.  Hlnayana  and  Mahayana  507 

4.  The  Way  of  the  Bodhisattva  534 

5.  The  Great  Delight  552 


1.  Who  Seeks  Nirvana?  560 

2.  The  Lamb,  the  Hero,  and  the  Man-God  581 

3.  AI!  the  Gods  within  Us  595 

Appendix  A:    The  Six  Systems  605 

Appendix  B:    Historical  Summary  615 

Bibliography  619 

General  Index  and  Sanskrit  Index  633 


I.  Lion -capital,  originally  surmounted  by  a  Wheel  of  the 
Law  \dharma~takra),  from  a  column  erected  by  King 
Asoka  at  Sarnath  to  commemorate  the  Buddha's 
preaching  there  of  the  First  Sermon.  Polished  Chunar 
sandstone,  7  ft.  by  2  ft.  10  in.  Maurya,  between  2.J2 
and  232  b.c.  (Sarnath  Museum.  Photo:  Archaeological 
Survey  of  India.)  132 

II.  A  Cakravartin,  with  the  Umbrella  of  Dominion  and  the 
Seven  Treasures.  From  the  ruins  of  a  Buddhist  stupa 
at  Jagayyapeta.  Early  Andhra,  2nd  century  b.c. 
(Madras  Museum.  Photo:  India  Office.)  132 

III.  Naga  King  and  Queen,  with  attendant,  in  a  rock-cut 

niche  outside  of  Cave  XIX  at  Ajanta.  Late  Gupta, 
fith  century  a.d.  (Photo:  Johnston  and  Hoffman,  Cal- 
cutta.) 204 

IV.  Head    of   Gautama    Buddha    protected    by    the    naga 

Mucalinda.  Stone,  from  the  vicinity  of  Angkor  Wat, 
Cambodia.  Khmer,  nth  century  a.d.  (Courtesy  of 
The  Metropolitan  Museum  of  Art,  New  York.)  204 

V.  The  Jaina  Tlrthankara  Parsvanatha  protected  by  the 
naga  Dharanendra.  From  the  Kankali  Tila,  Mathura. 
Mottled  red  sandstone,  3  ft.  4  in.  by  1  ft.  ioi/g  in.  by 
8  ft.  5  in.  Late  1st  or  early  2nd  century  a.d.  (Lucknow 
Museum.  Photo:  Archaeological  Survey  of  India.)  204 

Via.  The  Jaina  Tlrthankara  Parsvanatha  with  serpents 
springing  from  his  shoulders.  A  late  work,  probably 
from  West  India,  16th  or  17th  century  a.d.  204 

VIb.    Dahlia k,  "the  tyrant  of  Babylon  and  Arabia,"  from  whose 
shoulders  serpents  grew.  Detail  of  an  illumination 


(Persian),   from   a   manuscript   of   Firdausl's   Sh&h- 
ndmah,  dated  1602  aj>.  (Courtesy  of  The  Metropoli- 
tan Museum  of  Art,  New  Yoik.)  204 

Vic.  Nude  bearded  hero  with  a  stream  (lowing  over  each 
shoulder,  flanked  by  winged  lion-demons  and  with  a 
star  at  eithei  side  of  his  head.  Hematite  cylinder  seal. 
Syria,  c.  1450  b.c.  (From  Edith  Porada,  Corpus  of  An- 
cient Near  Eastern  Seals  111  North  American  Collec- 
tions, The  Bollingcn  Series  XIV,  New  York,  1948, 
Vol.  I,  fig.  979K.  Reproduced  through  the  courtesy  ol 
the  Trustees  ol  the  Piciponl  Moigan  Library,  New 
York.)  204 

VII.  The  Jaina  Tirthankaia  Ryabhanaiha,  RcViel-stcle  of 
alabasterlike  niaible,  from  Mount  Abu,  Raj pu tana, 
nth  to  13th  centuries  A.n.  Height  of  central  figure, 
3  ft.  71^  in.  Small,  kneeling  figures  at  cither  side,  man 
to  right,  woman  to  left,  apparently  donors;  height  51/2 
lo  fti/J  inches.  Behind  these,  standing  male  and  female 
figures,  1  ft.  3^  in.  high;  the  males  with  fly-wisps, 
the  female  at  the  right  with  a  cakta-discus  and  conch, 
she  at  the  left  with  niigas  in  her  hands;  probably 
deities.  Above  ate  musicians,  worshipers,  and  two  ele- 
phants, as  well  as  small,  standing  images  of  the  Tir- 
thafikaras  Ncminatha,  Parsvanatha,  and  Mahavlra. 
Naginis  and  yaksas  also  are  present.  The  little  zebu- 
bull  on  the  iate  of  the  pedestal  indicates  that  the 
main  subject  is  Rsabhanatlia.  (Photo,  from  Karl  With, 
Dildweikr  Ost-  utid  Siidasicm  aus  der  Sammlung  Yi 
Yuan,  Basel,  1924.)  210 

VIII.  The  Jaina  saint  Gommata  (also  known  as  Bahubali, 
"Strong  of  Arm"),  son  of  the  Tirthankara  Rsabhana- 
tha.  Monolithic  colossus,  5614  ft.  high,  13  ft.  around 
the  hips,  at  Sravana  Belgoja,  Hasan  District,  Mysore; 
c.  983  A.n.  (Photo:  Courtesy  of  Dr.  W.  Norman 
Brown.)  2 1  o 

IX.  The  Assault  of  Mara.  Relief  from  the  ruined  Buddhist 
stupa  of  Amaravati.  Andhra,  2nd  century  A.n.  (Madras 
Museum.  Photo:  Archaeological  Survey  of  India.)  472 


X.    Gautama    Buddha,  from   ihc  Jamalpur  (jail)  mound, 
Mathura.  Red  sandstone,  7  ft.  2  in.  Gupta,  5th  cen- 
tury a.d.  (Mathura   Museum.   Photo:  Johnston  and 
Hoffman,  Calcutta.)  472 

XI.  Maithuna  (VJra  and  Sakti)  on  the  outer  wall  of  the 
Kali  Devi  Temple  in  Khajuraho,  Tiundelkhand.  Late 
10th  century  a.d.  (Photo:  Courtesy  of  Dr.  Stella 
Kramrisch.)  588 

XII.  Apsaras  (Heavenly  Dancer)  in  technical  dance  pose, 
with  hands  in  mayvra  (peacock)  nntdra.  Bracket  fig- 
ure from  a  temple  ;ii  Palampet,  Mysore.  12th  or  13th 
century  A.n.  (Photo:  Archaeological  Survey  of  My- 
sore.) 588 


The  Consonants 




g        gh 




J        jh 




d        dh 




d        dh 




b        bh 







H  combined  with  another  consonant  is  always  aspirated  and 
audible;  for  example,  th  is  pronounced  as  in  boafftook,  ph  as 
in  haphazard,  dh  as  in  madhouse,  and  bh  as  in  abhor. 

The  guttural  series  are  the  ordinary  European  k-  and  g-sounds 
and  their  aspirates  (kh  and  gh),  with  a  nasal  ri,  which  is  pro- 
nounced as  ng  in  singing. 

In  the  palatal  series,  c  is  pronounced  about  like  ch  in  church 
(Sanskrit  eft,  consequently,  sounds  like  churcft-ftouse)  and  j 
about  as  in  y'udge.  The  nasal,  n,  is  like  n  in  Spanish  seizor. 
(An  exception  is  jnd,  which  pronounced  by  a  modern  Hindu 
sounds  like  gyah,  with  hard  g.)  The  palatal  semi-vowel,  y,  is  about 
as  in  English,  and  s,  the  sibilant,  approximately  sh. 

Linguals  are  gentler  sounds  than  dentals,  pronounced  with 
the  tip  of  the  tongue  bent  back  and  placed  against  the  roof  of 
the  mouth  instead  of  against  the  teeth.  The  r  is  untrilled.  The 
s  is  a  kind  of  sft-sound. 


The  dentals  and  labials  are  about  as  in  English. 

Visarga,  h,  is  a  final  A -sound  uttered  in  the  articulating  posi- 
tion of  the  preceding  vowel.  (It  is  a  substitute  for  a  final  s  or  r.) 

Anusvara,  m,  is  a  resonant  nasal  pronounced  with  open 

Simple  vowels 


The  Vowels 





V  Labials: 

In  general,  the  vowels  arc  pronounced  as  in  Italian;  short  a, 
however,  is  a  "neutral  vowel,"  like  the  vowel-sound  of  but,  son, 
or  blood.  The  vowel  r  is  an  un trilled  r-sound  used  as  a  vowel, 
as  in  certain  Slavonic  languages.  The  vowel  /  is  an  /-sound 
similarly  uttered. 




The  Roar  of  Awakening 

WE  of  the  Occident  arc  about  to  arrive  at  a  crossroads  that 
was  reached  by  the  thinkers  of  India  some  seven  hundred 
years  before  Christ.  This  is  the  real  reason  why  we  become  both 
vexed  and  stimulated,  uneasy  yet  interested,  when  confronted 
with  the  concepts  and  images  of  Oriental  wisdom.  This  crossing 
is  one  to  which  the  people  of  all  civilizations  come  in  the  typi- 
cal course  of  the  development  of  their  capacity  and  requirement 
for  religious  experience,  and  India's  teachings  force  us  to  real- 
ize what  its  problems  are.  But  we  cannot  take  over  the  Indian 
solutions.  We  must  enter  the  new  period  our  own  way  and 
solve  its  questions  for  ourselves,  because  though  truth,  the 
radiance  of  reality,  is  universally  one  and  the  same,  it  is  mir- 
rored variously  according  to  the  mediums  in  which  it  is  reflected. 
Truth  appears  differently  in  different  lands  and  ages  according 
to  the  living  materials  out  of  which  its  symbols  are  hewn. 

Concepts  and  words  are  symbols,  just  as  visions,  rituals,  and 
images  are;  so  too  are  the  manners  and  customs  of  daily  life. 
Through  all  of  these  a  transcendent  reality  is  mirrored.  They 
are  so  many  metaphors  reflecting  and  implying  something 


which,  though  thus  variously  expressed,  is  ineffable,  though 
thus  rendered  multiform,  remains  inscrutable.  Symbols  hold 
the  mind  to  truth  but  are  not  themselves  the  truth,  hence  it  is 
delusory  to  borrow  them.  Each  civilization,  every  age,  must 
bring  forth  its  own. 

We  shall  therefore  have  to  follow  the  difficult  way  of  our 
own  experiences,  produce  our  own  reactions,  and  assimilate  our 
sufferings  and  realizations.  Only  then  will  the  truth  that  we 
bring  to  manifestation  be  as  much  our  own  flesh  and  blood  as 
is  the  child  its  mother's;  and  the  mother,  in  love  with  the  Father, 
will  then  justly  delight  in  her  offspring  as  His  duplication. 
The  ineffable  seed  must  be  conceived,  gestated,  and  brought 
forth  from  our  own  substance,  fed  by  our  blood,  if  it  is  to  be  the 
true  child  through  which  its  mother  is  reborn:  and  the  Father, 
the  divine  Transcendent  Principle,  will  then  also  be  reborn- 
delivered,  that  is  to  say,  from  the  state  of  non-manifestation, 
non-action,  apparent  non-existence.  We  cannot  borrow  God. 
We  must  effect  His  new  incarnation  from  within  ourselves. 
Divinity  must  descend,  somehow,  into  the  matter  of  our  own 
existence  and  participate  in  this  peculiar  life-process. 

According  to  the  mythologies  of  India,  this  is  a  miracle  that 
will  undoubtedly  come  to  pass.  For  in  the  ancient  Hindu  tales 
one  reads  that  whenever  the  creator  and  sustainer  of  the  world, 
Visnu,  is  implored  to  appear  in  a  new  incarnation,  the  beseech- 
ing forces  leave  him  no  peace  until  he  condescends.  Neverthe- 
less, the  moment  he  comes  down,  taking  flesh  in  a  blessed 
womb,  to  be  again  made  manifest  in  the  world  which  itself  is 
a  reflex  of  his  own  ineffable  being,  self-willed  demonic  forces 
set  themselves  against  him;  for  there  arc  those  who  hate  and 
despise  the  god  and  have  no  room  for  him  in  their  systems  of 
expansive  egoism  and  domineering  rule.  These  do  everything 
within  their  power  to  hamper  his  career.  Their  violence,  how- 
ever, is  not  as  destructive  as  it  seems;  it  is  no  more  than  a  nec- 
essary force  in  the  historic  process.  Resistance  is  a  standard  part 


in  the  recurrent  cosmic  comedy  that  is  enacted  whenever  a  spark 
of  supernal  ti  nth,  drawn  down  by  the  misery  of  creatures  and 
the  imminence  of  chaos,  is  made  manifest  on  the  phenomenal 

"It  is  the  same  with  our  spirit,"  slates  Paul  Valery,  "as  with 
our  (lesh:  both  hide  in  mystery  what  they  feel  to  be  most  im- 
portant. They  conceal  it  Irom  themselves.  They  single  it  out 
and  protect  it  by  this  prolundity  in  which  they  ensconce  it. 
Everything  that  really  counts  is  well  veiled;  testimony  and  doc- 
uments only  render  it  the  more  obscure;  deeds  and  works  are 
designed  expressly  to  misrepresent  it."  ' 

The  chief  aim  of  Indian  thought  is  to  unveil  and  integrate 
into  consciousness  what  has  been  thus  resisted  and  hidden  bv 
the  forces  of  life— not  to  explore  and  describe  the  visible  world. 
The  supreme  and  characteristic  achievement  ol  the  Brahman 
mind  (and  this  has  been  decisive,  not  only  for  the  course  of 
Indian  philosophy,  but  also  for  the  history  of  Indian  civiliza- 
tion) was  its  discovery  of  the  Self  (atman)  as  an  independent, 
imperishable  entity,  underlying  the  conscious  personality  and 
bodily  frame.  Everything  that  we  normally  know  and  express 
about  ourselves  belongs  to  the  sphere  of  change,  the  sphere  of 
time  and  space,  but  this  Self  (atman)  is  forever  changeless,  beyond 
time,  beyond  space  and  the  veiling  net  of  causality,  beyond 
measure,  beyond  the  dominion  of  the  eye.  The  effort  of  Indian 
philosophy  has  been,  for  millenniums,  to  know  this  adamantine 
Self  and  make  the  knowledge  effective  in  human  life.  And  this 
enduring  concern  is  what  has  been  responsible  for  the  supreme 
morning  calm  that  pervades  the  terrible  histories  of  the  Oriental 

1  "II  en  est  de  notre  esprit  comme  de  notre  chair;  ce  qu'ils  se  sentent  de 
plus  important,  ils  I'envcloppent  de  mysterc,  ih  se  le  cachent  a  eux-memes; 
ils  le  designent  et  le  dependent  par  cette  profondeur  ou  ils  le  placent. 
Tout  ce  qui  compte  est  bien  voile;  les  temoins  et  les  documents  l'obscurcis- 
sent;  les  actes  et  les  ocuvres  sont  fails  expressement  pour  le  travestir" 
(Paul  Valery,  Variitt  I,  "Au  sujet  d'Adonis,"  p.  68). 


world— histories  no  less  tremendous,  no  less  horrifying,  than 
our  own.  Through  the  vicissitudes  of  physical  change  a  spirit- 
ual footing  is  maintained  in  the  peaceful-blissful  ground  of 
Atman;  eternal,  timeless,  and  impel ishable  Being. 

Indian,  like  Occidental,  philosophy  imparts  information  con- 
cerning the  measurable  strtutuie  and  powers  of  the  psyche, 
analyzes  man's  intellectual  faculties  and  the  operations  of  his 
mind,  evaluates  various  theories  of  human  understanding,  es- 
tablishes the  methods  and  laws  ol  logic,  classifies  the  senses, 
and  studies  the  processes  by  which  experiences  are  apprehended 
and  assimilated,  interpreted  and  comprehended.  Hindu  philos- 
ophers, like  those  of  the  West,  pronounce  on  ethical  values  and 
moral  standards.  They  study  also  the  visible  traits  of  phenom- 
enal existence,  criticizing  the  data  of  external  experience  and 
drawing  deductions  with  respect  to  the  supporting  principles. 
India,  that  is  to  say,  has  had,  and  still  has,  its  own  disciplines 
of  psychology,  ethics,  physics,  and  metaphysical  theory.  But  the 
primary  concern— in  striking  contrast  to  the  interests  of  the 
modern  philosophers  of  the  West— has  always  been,  not  infor- 
mation, but  transformation:  a  radical  changing  of  man's  nature 
and,  therewith,  a  renovation  of  his  understanding  both  of  the 
outer  world  and  of  his  own  existence;  a  translormation  as  com- 
plete as  possible,  sucli  as  will  amount  when  successful  to  a  total 
conversion  or  rebirth. 

In  this  respect  Indian  philosophy  sides  with  religion  to  a  far 
greater  extent  than  does  the  critical,  secularized  thinking  of  the 
modern  West.  It  is  on  the  side  of  such  ancient  philosophers  as 
Pythagoras,  Empedocles,  Plato,  the  Stoics,  Epicurus  and  his 
followers,  Plotinus,  and  the  Ncoplatonic  thinkers.  We  recognize 
the  point  of  view  again  in  St.  Augustine,  the  medieval  mystics 
such  as  Meistcr  Eckhart,  and  such  later  mystics  as  Jakob  Bohme 
of  Silesia.  Among  the  Romantic  philosophers  it  reappears  in 

The  attitudes  toward  each  other  of  the  Hindu  teacher  and 


the  pupil  bowing  at  his  feet  are  determined  by  the  exigencies 
of  this  supreme  task  of  transformation.  Their  problem  is  to 
effect  a  kind  of  alchemical  transmutation  oi  the  soul.  Through 
the  means,  not  of  a  merely  intellectual  under  standing,  but  of 
a  change  of  heart  (a  transformation  that  shall  touch  the  core  of 
his  existence),  the  pupil  is  to  pass  out  of  bondage,  beyond  the 
limits  of  human  imperfection  and  ignorance,  and  transcend 
the  earthly  plane  of  being. 

There  is  an  amusing  popular  table  which  illustrates  this 
pedagogical  idea.  It  is  recorded  among  the  teachings  of  the 
celebrated  Hindu  saint  of  the  nineteenth  cent  my,  StI  Rama- 
krishna.-  Anecdotes  of  this  childlike  kind  occur  continually  in 
the  discourses  of  the  Oriental  sages;  they  circulate  in  the  com- 
mon lore  of  the  folk  and  are  known  to  everyone  from  infancy. 
They  carry  the  lessons  of  India's  timeless  wisdom  to  the  homes 
and  hearts  of  the  people,  coming  down  through  the  millen- 
niums as  everybody's  property.  Indeed  India  is  one  of  the  great 
homelands  of  the  popular  fable;  during  (he  Middle  Ages 
many  of  her  tales  were  carried  into  Europe.  The  vividness  and 
simple  aptness  of  the  images  chive  home  the  points  of  the  teach- 
ing; they  are  like  pegs  to  which  can  be  attached  no  end  of 
abstract  reasoning.  The  beast  fable  is  but  one  of  the  many 
Oriental  devices  to  make  lessons  catch  hold  and  remain  in  the 

The  present  example  is  of  a  tiger  cub  that  had  been  brought 
up  among  goats,  but  through  the  enlightening  guidance  of  a 
spiritual  teacher  was  made  to  realize  its  own  unsuspected  na- 

2Cf.  The  Gospel  of  Sri  Ramakrhhna,  translated  with  an  introduction  by 
Swam!  Nikhilfniaiida,  New  Yoik,  19  \a.  pp.  2311-233,  259-360.  Sri  Ramakrishna 
(1836-86)  was  the  perfect  embodiment  of  the  orthodox  religious  philosophy 
of  India.  His  message  first  reached  America  through  his  pupil,  Swam!  Vive- 
kananda  (1863-1902),  who  spoke  for  India  at  the  World's  Parliament  of 
Religions,  held  in  Chicago,  1893.  Today  the  monks  of  the  Ramakrishna-Vi'vc- 
kananda  mission  maintain  spiritual  centers  and  conduct  courses  of  teaching 
in  most  of  the  principal  cities  of  the  United  States. 


ture.  Its  mother  had  died  in  giving  it  birth.  Big  with  young, 
she  had  been  prowling  for  many  days  without  discovering  prey, 
when  she  came  upon  this  herd  of  ranging  wild  goats.  The  tigress 
was  ravenous  at  the  time,  and  this  fact  may  account  for  the 
violence  of  her  spring;  but  in  any  case,  the  strain  of  the  leap 
brought  on  the  birth  throes,  and  from  sheer  exhaustion  she  ex- 
pired. Then  the  goats,  who  had  scattered,  returned  to  the  graz- 
ing ground  and  found  the  little  tiger  whimpering  at  its  mother's 
side.  They  adopted  the  feeble  creature  out  of  maternal  com- 
passion, suckled  it  together  with  their  own  offspring,  and 
watched  over  it  fondly.  The  cub  grew  and  their  care  was  re- 
warded; for  the  little  fellow  learned  the  language  of  the  goats, 
adapted  his  voice  to  their  gentle  way  of  bleating,  and  displayed 
as  much  devotion  as  any  kid  of  the  flock.  At  first  he  experienced 
some  difficulty  when  he  tried  to  nibble  thin  blades  of  grass 
with  his  pointed  teeth,  but  somehow  he  managed.  The  vege- 
tarian diet  kept  him  very  slim  and  imparted  to  his  temperament 
a  remarkable  meekness. 

One  night,  when  this  young  tiger  among  thegoats  had  reached 
the  age  of  reason,  the  herd  was  attacked  again,  this  time  by  a 
fierce  old  male  tiger,  and  again  they  scattered;  but  the  cub  re- 
mained where  he  stood,  devoid  of  fear.  He  was  of  course  sur- 
prised. Discovering  himself  face  to  face  with  the  terrible  jungle 
being,  he  gazed  at  the  apparition  in  amazement.  The  first  mo- 
ment passed;  then  he  began  to  feel  self-conscious.  Uttering  a 
forlorn  bleat,  he  plucked  a  thin  leaf  of  grass  and  chewed  it, 
while  the  other  stared. 

Suddenly  the  mighty  intruder  demanded:  "What  are  you  do- 
ing here  among  these  goats?  What  are  you  chewing  there?"  The 
funny  little  creature  bleated.  The  old  one  became  really  terrify- 
ing. He  roared,  "Why  do  you  make  this  silly  sound?"  and  before 
the  other  could  respond,  seized  him  roughly  by  the  scruff  and 
shook  him,  as  though  to  knock  him  back  to  his  senses.  The  jungle 
tiger  then  carried  the  frightened  cub  to  a  nearby  pond,  where 


he  set  him  down,  compelling  him  to  look  into  the  mirror  surface, 
which  was  illuminated  by  the  moon.  "Now  look  at  those  two 
faces.  Are  they  not  alike?  You  have  the  pot-face  of  a  tiger;  it  is 
like  mine.  Why  do  you  fancy  yourself  to  be  a  goat?  Why  do  you 
bleat?  Why  do  you  nibble  grass?" 

The  little  one  was  unable  to  reply,  but  continued  to  stare, 
comparing  the  two  reflections.  Then  it  became  uneasy,  shifted 
its  weight  from  paw  to  paw.  and  emitted  another  troubled, 
quavering  cry.  The  fierce  old  beast  seized  it  again  and  carried 
it  off  to  his  den,  where  he  presented  it  with  a  bleeding  piece 
of  raw  meat  remaining  from  an  earlier  meal.  The  cub  shud- 
dered with  disgust.  The  jungle  tiger,  ignoring  the  weak  bleat 
of  protest,  gruffly  ordered:  "Take  itl  Eat  itl  Swallow  itl"  The 
cub  resisted,  but  the  frightening  meat  was  forced  between  his 
teeth,  and  the  tiger  sternly  supervised  while  he  tried  to  chew 
and  prepared  to  swallow.  The  toughness  of  the  morsel  was  un- 
familiar and  was  causing  some  difficulty,  and  he  was  just  about 
to  make  his  little  noise  again,  when  he  began  to  get  the  taste  of 
the  blood.  He  was  amazed;  he  reached  with  eagerness  for  the 
rest.  He  began  to  feel  an  unfamiliar  gratification  as  the  new 
food  went  down  his  gullet,  and  the  meaty  substance  came  into 
his  stomach.  A  strange,  glowing  strength,  starting  from  there, 
went  out  through  his  whole  organism,  and  he  commenced  to 
feel  elated,  intoxicated.  His  lips  smacked;  he  licked  his  jowls. 
He  arose  and  opened  his  mouth  with  a  mighty  yawn,  just  as 
though  he  were  waking  from  a  night  of  sleep— a  night  that  had 
held  him  long  under  its  spell,  for  years  and  years.  Stretching 
his  form,  he  arched  his  back,  extending  and  spreading  his  paws. 
The  tail  lashed  the  ground,  and  suddenly  from  his  throat  there 
burst  the  terrifying,  triumphant  roar  of  a  tiger. 

The  grim  teacher,  meanwhile,  had  been  watching  closely 
and  with  increasing  satisfaction.  The  transformation  had  ac- 
tually taken  place.  When  the  roar  was  finished  he  demanded 
gruffly:  "Now  do  you  know  what  you  really  are?"  and  to  com- 


plete  the  initiation  of  his  young  disciple  into  the  secret  lore 
of  his  own  true  nature,  added:  "Gome,  weshatt  go  now  for  a  hunt 
together  in  the  jungle." 

The  history  of  Indian  thought  during  the  period  just  pre- 
ceding the  birth  and  mission  of  the  Buddha  (c.  r>D.r-4°\lJ  uc )  vv~ 
veals  a  gradual  intensification  of  emphasis  on  this  problem  of 
the  rediscovery  and  assimilation  of  the  Self.  The  philosophical 
dialogues  of  the  Upanisads  indicate  that  during  the  eighth  cen- 
tury B.C.  a  critical  shift  of  weight  from  the  outer  universe  and 
tangible  spheres  of  the  body  to  the  inner  and  the  intangible  was 
carrying  the  dangerous  implications  of  this  direction  of  the 
mind  to  their  logical  conclusion.  A  pioccss  of  withdrawal  from 
the  normally  known  world  was  taking  place.  The  powers  of  the 
macrocosm  and  corresponding  faculties  of  the  microcosm  were 
being  generally  devaluated  and  left  behind;  and  with  such 
fearlessness  that  the  whole  religious  system  of  the  previous 
period  was  being  placed  in  peril  of  collapse.  The  kings  of  the 
gods,  India  and  V.iruna,  and  the  di\ine  priests  of  the  gods,  Agni, 
Mitra,  Brhaspati,  were  no  longer  receiving  their  due  of  prayer 
and  sacrifice.  Instead  of  directing  the  mind  to  these  symbolic 
guardians  and  models  ol  the  natural  and  the  social  orders,  sup- 
porting them  and  keeping  them  effective  through  a  continuous 
sequence  of  rites  and  meditations,  men  were  turning  all  of  their 
attention  inward,  striving  to  attain  and  hold  themselves  in  a 
state  of  unmitigated  Self-awareness  through  sheer  thinking, 
systematic  self-analysis,  breath  control,  and  the  stern  psycho- 
logical disciplines  of  yoga. 

The  antecedents  of  this  radical  introjeclion  are  already  dis- 
cernible in  many  of  the  hymns  of  the  Vedas;*  for  example,  the 

3  Editor's  note:  For  the  reader  unfamiliar  with  the  chronology  of  Indian 
doruments,  it  can  be  staled,  briefly,  that  the  four  Vcdas  (IJ.g,  Yajur,  Sama, 
and  Atharva)  contain  (he  hymns  and  magical  charms  of  those  nomadic 
Aryan  cattle-herding  families  who  entered  India  through  the  northwestern 
mountains  during  the  se<ond  millennium  B.C.,  about  the  time  that  the 


following  prayer  for  power,  wherein  the  divine  forces  variously 
manifest  in  the  outer  world  are  conjured  to  enter  the  subject, 
take  up  their  abode  in  his  body,  and  vivify  his  faculties. 

"The  brilliancy  that  is  in  the  lion,  the  tiger,  and  the  serpent; 
in  Agni  (the  god  of  the  sacrificial  lire),  in  the  Iirahmans,  and  in 
Surya  (the  Sun)  shall  be  outs!  May  the  lovely  goddess  who 
bore  Indra  come  to  us,  endowed  with  lusterl 

"The  brilliancy  that  is  in  the  elephant,  the  panther,  and  in 

Achaeans  (to  whom  they  were  somehow  i elated  and  whose  language  re- 
sembled Vedir  Sanskrit)  weie  descending  into  Gicece.  The  Vedic  hymns 
arc  the  oldest  extant  literary  and  religious  monument  of  the  so-called 
Indo-Iiuiopean  family  of  languages,  which  comprises  all  of  the  literatures 
of  the  following  traditions:  Celtic  (Irish,  Welsh,  Scottish,  etc.),  Germanic 
(German,  Dutch,  Mnglish,  Norse,  Gothic,  etc.),  Italic  (Latin,  Italian,  Span- 
ish, Fiencli,  Romanian,  etc.),  Greek,  Balto-Slavic  (Old  Prussian,  Lettish, 
Russian.  Czech,  Polish,  etc.),  Anatolic  (Armenian,  Ancient  Phrygian,  etc.), 
Iranian  (Persian,  Afghan,  etc.),  and  Indo-Aryan  (Sanskrit,  Pali,  and  the 
modern  languages  of  northern  India,  such  as  Hindi,  JJengali,  Sindhi, 
Panjabi,  and  Gujiuati— as  well  as  Romany  or  Gypsy).  Many  of  the  gods, 
beliefs,  and  observances  of  the  Vedir  age  closely  parallel  those  of  the 
Homeric.  The  hymns  seem  to  have  been  fixed  in  their  present  form  c. 
1500-1000  B.C. 

The  term  Veda  includes,  however,  not  only  the  four  hymn  collections, 
but  also  a  class  of  prose  composition  appended  to  them  and  known  as 
Hrtihmana,  composed  in  the  centuries  immediately  following  and  repre- 
senting an  age  of  meticulous  theological  and  liturgical  analysis.  The 
Hrahmanas  contain  long,  detailed  discussions  of  the  elements  and  connota- 
tions of  the  Vedic  sacrifice,  as  well  as  a  number  of  priceless  fragments 
of  very  ancient  Aryan  myths  and  legends. 

Following  the  period  of  the  Hrahmanas  came  that  of  the  Upanisads 
(mentioned  above),  which  opened  in  the  eighth  century  B.C.  and  culminated 
in  the  century  of  the  Buddha  (c.  563-483  B.C.).  Compare  the  dates  of  the 
Greek  age  of  philosophy,  which  began  with  Thales  of  Miletus  (640?~546  B.C.) 
and  culminated  in  the  dialogues  of  Plato  (4277-347  b.c)  and  the  works  of 
Aristotle  (384-322  B.C.). 

For  the  convenience  of  the  reader  a  brief  historical  appendix  has  been 
prepared,  which  contains  notices  of  the  dates  of  most  of  the  topics  treated 
in  the  present  volume;  see  Appendix  B. 



gold;  in  the  waters,  in  cattle,  and  in  men  shall  be  ours!  May 
the  lovely  goddess  who  bore  Indra  come  to  us,  endowed  with 
luster  I 

"The  brilliancy  that  is  in  the  chariot,  the  dice,  and  the 
strength  of  the  bull;  in  the  wind,  in  Parjanya  (Indra  as  the 
lord  of  rain),  and  the  fire  of  Varuna  (lord  regent  of  ocean  and 
of  the  western  quarter)  shall  be  ours!  May  the  lovely  goddess 
who  bore  Indra  come  to  us,  endowed  with  luster! 

"The  brilliancy  that  is  in  the  man  of  royal  caste,  in  the 
stretched  drum,  in  the  strength  of  the  horse,  and  in  the  shout 
of  men  shall  be  ours!  May  the  lovely  goddess  who  bore  Indra 
come  to  us,  endowed  with  luster!"  * 

The  fully  developed  Adhyatmam-adhidaivam  system  of  the 
period  of  the  Upanisads  utilized  as  a  means  for  arriving  at  ab- 
solute detachment  a  thorough-going  scheme  of  correspondences 
between  subjective  and  objective  phenomena.0  As  an  instance: 
"The  divinities  of  the  world  having  been  created,  they  said 
to  Atman  (the  Self  as  the  Creator):  'Find  out  for  us  an  abode 
wherein  we  may  be  established  and  may  eat  food.'  He  led  up  a 
bull  to  them.  They  said:  'Verily,  this  is  not  sufficient  for  us.' 
He  led  up  a  horse  to  them.  They  said:  'Verily,  this  not  suffi- 
cient for  us.'  He  led  up  a  person  to  them.  They  said:  'Oh!  Well 

*  Atharva  Veda  VI.  38.  (Translated  by  Maurice  Bloomfield,  Sacred  Books 
of  the  East,  Vol.  XLII,  pp.  1 16-1 17;  cf.  also,  Harvard  Oriental  Series,  Cam- 
bridge, Mass.,  1905,  Vol.  VII,  p.  309.) 

"The  lovely  goddess  who  bore  Indra"  is  Aditi,  mother  of  the  gods  of 
the  Vedic  pantheon,  corresponding  to  Rhea,  mother  of  the  Greek  Olym- 
pians. Indra,  the  chief  and  best  beloved  of  her  sons,  corresponds  to  the 
Greco-Roman  lord  of  the  gods,  Zeus-Jove,  while  Varuna  is  comparable  to 
the  Greek  Ouranos  (heaven),  and  Surya  to  Phoebus-Apollo. 

8  Adhyatmam  (adhi  =  "over";  atman—  "self  or  spirit"):  the  Supreme 
Spirit  manifest  as  the  Self  of  the  individual;  adhidaivam  (daivam,  from 
deva  =  "divinity"):  the  Supreme  Spirit  operating  in  material  objects. 
These  two  are  equated  in  this  system  as  the  dual  aspects  of  one  sole  Im- 
perishable, known  respectively  from  the  subjective  and  the  objective 
points  of  view. 



donel'— Verily,  a  person  is  a  thing  well  done.— He  said  to  them: 
'Enter  into  your  respective  abodes.'  Fire  became  speech,  and 
entered  the  mouth.  Wind  became  breath,  and  entered  the  nos- 
trils. The  sun  became  sight,  and  entered  the  eyes.  The  quarters 
of  heaven  became  hearing,  and  entered  the  ears.  Plants  and 
trees  became  hairs,  and  entered  the  skin.  The  moon  became 
mind,  and  entered  the  heart.  Death  became  the  out-breath,  and 
entered  the  navel.  Waters  became  semen,  and  entered  the 
virile  member."  " 

The  pupil  is  taught  to  apply  his  knowledge  ot  correspond- 
ences of  this  kind  to  such  meditations  as  the  following:  "Just 
as  a  jug  dissolves  into  earth,  a  wave  into  water,  or  a  bracelet 
into  gold,  even  so  the  universe  will  dissolve  into  me.  Wonderful 
am  II  Adoration  to  myself  1  For  when  the  world,  from  its  high- 
est god  to  its  least  stem  of  grass,  dissolves,  that  destruction  is 
not  mine." ' 

There  is  evident  here  a  total  disjunction  of  the  phenomenal 
self  (the  naively  conscious  personality  which  together  with  its 
world  of  names  and  forms  will  in  time  be  dissolved)  from  that 
other,  profoundly  hidden,  essential  yet  forgotten,  transcendental 
Self  (alman),  which  when  recollected  roars  out  with  its  thrilling, 
world-annihilating,  "Wonderful  am  1!"  That  other  is  no  created 
thing,  but  the  substratum  of  all  created  things,  all  objects,  all 
processes.  "Weapons  cut  it  not;  fire  burns  it  not;  water  wets  it 
not;  the  wind  does  not  wither  it." "  The  sense-faculties,  nor- 
mally turned  outward,  seeking,  apprehending,  and  reacting  to 
their  objects,  do  not  come  into  touch  with  the  sphere  of  that 
permanent  reality  but  only  with  the  transient  evolutions  of  the 
perishable  transformations  of  its  energy.  Will  power,  leading 

•  Aitareya  Upanifad  s.  1-4.  (Translated  by  Robert  Ernest  Hume,  The 
Thirteen  Principal  Upanishads,  Oxford,  1921,  p.  295.) 

7  Asfavakra  Sarhhitd  2.  10-11.  (Translated  by  Swami  Nityaswampananda, 
Mayavati.  1940.  pp.  22-23.) 

9  Bhagavad  GUd  2.  23. 


to  the  achievement  of  worldly  ends,  can  therefore  be  of  no 
great  help  to  man.  Neither  can  the  pleasures  and  experiences 
of  the  senses  initiate  the  consciousness  into  the  secret  of  the 
fullness  of  life. 

According  to  the  thinking  and  experience  of  India,  the  knowl- 
edge of  changing  things  does  not  conduce  to  a  realistic  attitude; 
for  such  things  lack  substantiality,  they  perish.  Neither  does  it 
conduce  to  an  idealistic  outlook;  for  the  inconsistencies  of 
things  in  flux  continually  contradict  and  refute  each  other. 
Phenomenal  forms  are  by  nature  delusory  and  fallacious.  The 
one  who  rests  on  them  will  he  disturbed.  They  are  merely  the 
particles  of  a  vast  universal  illusion  which  is  wrought  by 
the  magic  of  Self -forget  fulness,  supported  by  ignorance,  and 
carried  forward  by  the  deceived  passions.  Naive  unawareness  of 
the  hidden  truth  of  the  Self  is  the  primary  cause  of  all  the  mis- 
placed emphases,  inappropriate  altitudes,  and  consequent  self- 
torments  of  this  auto-intoxicated  world. 

There  is  obviously  implicit  in  such  an  insight  the  basis  for 
a  transfer  of  all  interest  not  only  from  the  normal  ends  and 
means  of  people  of  the  world,  hut  also  from  the  rites  and  dog- 
mas of  the  religion  of  such  deluded  beings.  The  mythological 
creator,  the  Lord  of  the  Universe,  is  no  longer  of  interest.  Only 
introverted  awareness  bent  and  driven  to  the  depth  of  the  sub- 
ject's own  nature  reaches  that  borderline  where  the  transitory 
superimpositions  meet  their  unchanging  source.  And  such 
awareness  can  finally  succeed  even  in  bringing  consciousness 
across  the  border,  to  merge— perish  and  become  therewith  im- 
perishable—in the  omnipresent  substratum  of  all  substance. 
That  is  the  Self  (atman),  the  ultimate,  enduring,  supporting 
source  of  being.  That  is  the  giver  of  all  these  specialized  mani- 
festations, changes  of  form,  and  deviations  from  the  true  state, 
these  so-called  vikaras:  transformations  and  evolutions  of  the 
cosmic  display.  Nor  is  it  through  praise  of  and  submission  *o 
the  gods,  but  through  knowledge,  knowledge  of  the  Self,  that 


the  sage  passes  from  involvement  in  what  is  here  displayed  to 
a  discovery  of  its  cause. 

And  such  knowledge  is  achieved  thiough  cither  of  two  tech- 
niques: i.  a  .systematic  dispaiagemem  of  the  whole  world  as  il- 
lusion, or  2-  an  equally  thoroughgoing  realization  of  the  sheer 
materiality  of  it  all."" 

This  we  recognize  as  precisely  the  non-theistic,  anthropo- 
centric  position  that  we  ourselves  are  on  the  point  of  reaching 
today  in  the  West,  if  indeed  we  arc  not  already  there.  For 
where  dwell  the  gods  to  whom  we  can  uplift  our  hands,  send 
forth  our  prayers,  and  make  oblation?  Beyond  the  Milky  Way 
are  only  island  universes,  galaxy  beyond  galaxy  in  the  infini- 
tudes of  space— no  realm  of  angels,  no  heavenly  mansions,  no 
choirs  of  the  blessed  surrounding  a  divine  throne  of  the  Father, 
revolving  in  beatific  consciousness  about  the  axial  mystery  ol 
the  Trinity.  Is  there  any  region  left  in  all  these  great  readies 
where  the  soul  on  its  quest  might  expect  to  airi\e  at  the  feet 
of  God,  having  become  divested  of  its  own  material  coil?  Or 
must  we  not  now  turn  lather  inward,  seek  the  di\ine  inter). ally, 
in  the  deepest  vault,  beneath  the  floor;  hearken  within  loi  the 
secret  voice  that  is  both  commanding  and  consoling;  diaw 
from  inside  the  grace  which  passeth  all  understanding? 

We  of  the  modern  Occident  are  at  last  prepared  to  seek  and 
hear  the  voice  that  India  has  heard.  But  like  the  tiger  cub  we 
must  hear  it  not  from  the  teacher  but  from  within  ourselves. 
Just  as  in  the  period  of  the  deflation  of  the  revealed  gods  of  the 
Vedic  pantheon,  so  today  revealed  Christianity  has  been  de- 
valuated. The  Christiati,  as  Nietzsche  says,  is  a  man  who  be- 
haves like  everybody  else.  Our  professions  of  faith  have  no 
longer  any  discernible  bearing  either  on  our  public  conduct  or 
on  our  private  state  of  hope.  The  sacraments  do  not  work  on 
many  of  us  their  spiritual  transformation;  we  are  bereft  and 

8a  Respectively,  as  in  the  Vcdanta  (infra,  pp.  409-463)  and  the  Sankhyn 
(infra,  pp.  280-338). 



at  a  loss  where  to  turn.  Meanwhile,  our  academic  secular  phi- 
losophies are  concerned  rather  with  information  than  with 
that  redemptive  transformation  which  our  souls  require.  And 
this  is  the  reason  why  a  glance  ai  the  face  of  India  may  assist 
us  to  discover  and  recover  something  ot  ourselves. 

The  basic  aim  of  any  serious  study  of  Oriental  thought  should 
be,  not  merely  the  gathering  and  oidering  of  as  much  detailed 
inside  information  as  possible,  but  the  reception  of  some  sig- 
nificant influence.  And  in  order  that  this  may  come  10  pass— in 
line  with  the  parable  of  the  goat-fostetling  who  discovered  he 
was  a  tiger— we  should  swallow  the  meat  of  the  teaching  as  red 
and  rare  as  we  can  stand  it,  not  too  much  cooked  in  the  heat 
of  our  ingrained  Occidental  intellect  (and,  by  no  means,  from 
any  philological  pickle  jar),  but  not  raw  either,  because  then 
it  would  prove  unpalatable  and  perhaps  indigestible.  We  must 
take  it  rare,  with  lots  of  the  red  juices  gushing,  so  that  we  may 
really  taste  it,  with  a  certain  sense  of  surprise.  Then  we  will 
join,  from  our  transoceanic  distance,  in  the  world-ievcrbcrat- 
ing  jungle  roar  of  India's  wisdom. 

The  Steely  Barb 

Before  entering  upon  a  study  of  philosophy  one  should  clear 
the  mind  with  the  question:  What,  really,  do  I  expect  from 
philosophy?  There  are  many,  secretly  afraid,  who  spontaneously 
resist  its  revelations.  They  find  philosophy  difficult  to  enjoy- 
occasionally  exciting,  but  in  the  main  complex,  long-winded, 


abstract,  and  apparently  of  no  great  practical  value.  For  such 
persons,  metaphysics  is  vague  and  lofty  nonsense,  only  fit  to 
give  one  veiligo;  its  uncontrolled  speculations  are  contrary  to 
the  findings  of  modern  science  and  have  been  discredited  (for 
all  but  the  inadequately  informed)  by  the  publications  of  the 
latest  thinkers.  Working  hypotheses  have  at  last  begun  to  dispel 
the  mysteries  of  the  universe  and  man's  existence.  By  means  of 
calculations  based  on  sober,  controlled  experiment,  and  veri- 
fied not  only  in  the  facts  of  the  laboratory  but  also  through  the 
applied  techniques  of  everyday  life,  the  traditional  mysteries 
of  the  mystics  ate  being  systematically  dissipated.  The  Eucharist 
has  been  transmuted  back  into  bread.  And  so,  although  philos- 
ophy may  be  allowed  its  due  in  so  far  as  it  is  subservient  to  civi- 
lization and  lollows  the  usual  habits  of  the  modern  mind,  it 
cannot  be  taken  seriously  if  it  conflicts  with  the  current  formu- 
lations of  physical  science  or  recommends  a  different  mode  of 
conduct  from  that  today  made  general  by  the  universal  progress 
of  technology.  Metaphysics  and  such  airy  meditations  as  those 
of  the  philosophy  of  history  and  religion  may  be  sensitively  tol- 
erated as  a  genteel  embellishment  of  education,  but  they  are  not 
of  any  vital  use. 

Minds  of  the  type  represented  by  this  sort  of  up-to-date  apo- 
tropaic  cerebration  teach  philosophy  as  a  synthesis  of  scientific 
information.  They  reject  everything  that  cannot  be  linked  into 
this  context.  They  are  concerned  to  control  and  harmonize  the 
findings  from  the  various  fields  of  research,  outline  a  compre- 
hensive pattern,  and  formulate  methodical  principles,  without 
encroaching  on  the  authority  of  the  specialist— the  research 
fellow  in  direct  touch  with  the  microbe,  asterism,  or  condi- 
tioned reflex;  but  as  for  the  methods,  goals,  and  so-called  truths 
of  every  other  system  of  thought:  these  are  either  rejected  or 
patronized,  as  the  quaint,  outmoded  prepossessions  of  a  super- 
seded world. 

There  is,  however,  another  type  of  modern  thinker,  diametri- 


cally  opposed  and  sometimes  overtly  antagonistic  to  the  first. 
v.ho  cherishes  a  hope  that  contemporary  philosophy  may  some 
day  utter  a  word  to  him  somewhat  different  from  the  commu- 
nications continually  coming  from  all  departments  of  the 
sprawling  scientiiic  workshop.  Touring  as  a  searching  student 
through  the  laboratories,  peering  through  the  various  instru- 
ments, tabulating,  classifying,  and  becoming  very  tired  of  the 
infinitude  of  minutely  specialized  responses  to  questions  of  de- 
tail, he  is  seeking  an  answer  to  some  query  that  the  research 
fellows  seem  not  to  be  concerned  with  and  that  the  compre- 
hensive philosophers  are  systematically  avoiding.  Something  be- 
yond critical  reasoning  is  what  he  requires;  something  that 
someone  of  adequate  mind  should  have  realized  intuitively  as 
a  Truth  (with  a  capital  T)  about  man's  existence  and  the  na- 
ture of  the  cosmos;  something  to  enter  the  breast  and  pierce 
the  heart  with  what  Baudelaire  called  "the  steely  barb  of  the 
infinite,"  la  pointe  aceree  de  t'inftnie.  What  he  requires  is  a 
philosophy  that  will  confront  and  resolve  the  task  once  per- 
formed by  religion;  and  this  is  a  need  from  which  no  number 
of  college  utilises  on  the  validity  of  inference  can  emancipate 

Philosophy  as  the  handmaid  of  empirical  research,  thought 
wearing  the  blinders  of  the  standards  of  contemporary  science, 
and  metaphysics  open  to  rational  criticism  from  every  quarter 
—in  short,  reason  infallible:  this  is  the  ideal  and  requirement  of 
the  practical-minded  thinker.  Whereas  the  other  is  simply  not 
convinced  by  all  the  plausible  searching  and  discovering. 
Neither  is  he  unwilling  to  accept  the  reproach  of  being  some- 
what mysterious  in  his  personal  demands.  He  does  not  ask  that 
a  philosophy  should  be  comprehensible  to  every  level-headed 
contemporary;  what  he  wants  is  a  response  (if  only  so  much  as 
the  hint  of  one)  to  the  primary  questions  in  his  mind. 

The  sages  of  India  side  with  the  second  of  these  two  points 
of  view.  They  have  never  intended  their  teachings  to  be  popu- 


lar.  Indeed,  it  is  only  in  recent  years  that  their  words  have  be- 
come generally  accessible  through  printed  texts  and  translations 
into  popular  tongues.  They  insist  on  first  determining  whether 
a  candidate  applying  (or  admission  to  the  sanctum  oi  (heir 
philosophy  is  endowed  with  the  necessary  spiritual  qualifica- 
tions. Has  he  fulfilled  the  preliminary  disciplines?  Is  he  ripe  to 
benefit  from  a  contact  with  the  guru?  Does  he  deserve  to  take 
a  place  at  the  guru's  feet?  For  the  solutions  ol  the  Indian  sages 
to  the  enigmas  of  life  and  their  approaches  to  the  mystery  ol 
the  universe  are  worked  out  along  lines  completely  different 
from  those  being  followed  by  the  leaders  of  modern  research 
and  education.  They  neither  deny  nor  apologize  for  the  fact  that 
their  teachings  arc  hard  to  grasp  and  therefore  -necessarily- 

What  the  specific  requirements  are  for  the  Indian  pupil 
(adhikarin)  qualified  to  specialize  in  one  or  another  of  the 
traditional  departments  of  learning,  we  shall  presently  sec;-'  but 
first,  let  us  introduce  ourselves  to  this  subject  by  way  of  two 
entertaining  anecdotes  about  the  preliminary  trials  and  tests  of 
Indian  pupils.  These  will  demonstrate  that  e\en  when  a  can- 
didate has  pro\cd  himself  and  been  accepted  as  an  adept  well 
entitled  to  be  instructed,  he  must  not  suppose  that  he  is  already 
ripe  to  understand  e\en  the  first  principles  of  the  wisdom  of 
reality.  His  superior  character  and  accomplishments  (though  of 
an  order  not  known  to  the  multitude,  or  even  to  the  privileged 
normal  minority)  are  by  no  means  an  adequate  safeguard  against 
the  pitfalls  and  curious  dangers  of  the  deceptive  way  to  the  con- 
cealed goal  of  truth. 

The  first  talc,  which  is  told  of  a  king  who  had  been  accepted 
as  a  pupil  by  the  famous  Vcdantir  philosopher  Sarikara  (c.  78S- 
820  or  850  A.n.),  is  one  that  will  give  some  idea  of  the  su- 
pernal loftiness  of  the  basic  conceptions  of  India's  classic  phi- 
losophy and  illustrate  their  incompatibility  with  common  sense. 

9  Infra,  pp.  51-56. 



They  are  revelations  from  "the  other  shore,"  from  "over  Jor- 
dan"; or  as  the  Mahayana  Buddhist  tradition  phrases  it:  they 
are  clues  to  the  "Transcendental  Wisdom  of  the  Far  Bank" 
(prajtla-paramita),  reflections  from  beyond  these  broad  and 
wildly  turbulent  waters  of  the  stream  of  life  which  are  to  be 
crossed  in  the  boat  (yana)  of  the  enlightening  piactice  of  the 
Buddhist  virtues.  Not  the  detailed  description  of  our  hither 
shore,  but  transport  to  the  shoic  beyond— through  transforma- 
tion—is to  be  the  supreme  goal  ol  human  nsearch,  teaching, 
and  meditation.  This  is  the  ideal  on  which  all  the  great  phi- 
losophies of  India  come  to  accord."' 

10  Editor's  note:  The  Buddha  (c.  563-483  b.c)  did  not  accept  the  au- 
thority of  the  Vedas;  hence  the  doctrine  that  he  taught  was  heterodox 
and  developed  apart  from  the  orthodox  Vedic  line,  producing  schools  and 
systems  of  its  own.  Two  great  divisions  of  Uuddhist  thinking  are  dis- 
tinguished. The  first  was  dedicated  to  the  ideal  of  individual  salvation 
and  represented  the  way  to  this  end  as  monastic  self-discipline.  The  sec- 
ond, which  seems  to  have  matured  in  noitheni  India  during  and  follow- 
ing the  first  and  second  centuries  a.i>.  (long  after  the  other  had  been  dis- 
seminated as  far  southward  as  the  island  of  Ceylon),  proposed  the  ideal 
of  salvation  for  all  and  developed  disciplines  or  popular  devotion  and  uni- 
versal secular  service.  The  eailier  is  known  as  the  Hinayana,  "the  lesser 
or  little  (hina)  boat  or  vehicle  (ydna),"  while  the  second  is  the  .Mahayana, 
"the  great  (mahat)  boat  or  vehicle,"  i.e.,  the  boat  in  which  all  can  tide. 
Hinayana  Buddhism  is  supported  by  an  extensive  body  of  scripture  that 
was  set  down  in  Pali  (an  Indo-Aryan  dialect  of  the  Buddha's  time),  e. 
80  b.c,  by  the  monks  of  Ceylon  (the  so-called  Pali  canon).  While  the 
Mahayana  recognized  this  canon,  it  pioduced,  in  addition,  a  body  of  scrip- 
tures of  its  own,  in  Sanskrit  (the  traditional  sacred  and  scholarly  language 
of  Vedic  India,  which  has  been  pieservcd  with  little  change  to  the  present 
day).  Among  the  chief  of  these  Buddhist  writings  in  Sanskrit  are  the  so- 
called  Prajnd'Pdratnha  texts,  mentioned  above  and  discussed  infra,  pp. 
483-552.  Mahayana  Buddhism  spread  northward  into  China,  Tibet,  and 
Japan,  carrying  the  "Transcendental  Wisdom  of  the  Far  Bank"  to  those 
lands;  the  Hinayana  survives  chiefly  in  Ceylon,  Burma,  and  Siam. 

Meanwhile,  the  Vedic-Upanisadic  tradition  did  not  cease  to  develop, 
but  produced  its  own  series  of  creative  and  systematizing  philosophers. 
The  most  celebrated  of  these  was  the  brilliant  genius  Sankara  c.  788-820 


The  Vedantic  doctrine,  as  systematized  and  expounded  by 
Sankara,  sti esses  a  concept  which  is  rather  puzzling,  namely  that 
of  maya.11  Maya  denotes  the  unsubstantial,  phenomenal  charac- 
ter of  the  observed  and  manipulated  world,  as  well  as  of  the 
mind  itself— the  conscious  and  even  subconscious  stratifications 
and  powers  of  the  personality.  It  is  a  concept  that  holds  a  key 
position  in  Vedantic  thought  and  teaching,  and, if  misunderstood, 
may  lead  the  pupil  to  the  conclusion  that  the  external  world  and 
his  ego  are  devoid  of  all  icality  whatsoever,  mere  nonentities, 
"like  the  horns  of  a  hare."  This  is  a  common  error  in  the  early 
stages  of  instruction,  to  correct  which,  by  vivid  example,  is  the 
purpose  of  numberless  comical  anecdotes  told  of  the  Indian 
adhikarins  and  their  gurus. 

The  king  of  the  present  story,  who  became  the  pupil  of  the 
philosopher  Sankara,  was  a  man  of  sound  and  realistic  mind 

or  850  a.d.)  whose  coinincntai  ics  on  the  basic  orthodox  Vedic  scriptures 
stand  as  the  supreme  monument  of  the  late  period  of  Indian  philosophy. 
The  term  Veddnla  (=Veda+anta  end:  "end  of  the  Veda,"  i.e.,  the  goal 
or  terminal  development  of  Vcdic  thought)  is  applied  to  the  works  and 
concepts  of  this  late  period  oi  orthodox  Hindu  scholasticism  (cf.  infra, 
pp.  409-463). 

11  Editor's  note:  Maya,  from  the  root  ma,  "to  measure,  to  form,  to  build." 
denotes,  in  the  fiist  place,  the  power  of  a  god  or  demon  to  produce  illu- 
sory effects,  to  change  form,  and  to  appear  under  deceiving  masks.  Derived 
from  this  is  the  meaning,  "magic,"  the  production  of  an  illusion  by  super- 
natural means;  and  then,  simply,  "the  production  of  an  illusion,"  for 
example  in  warfare,  camouflage,  etc.  (cf.  infra,  p.  122).  Maya  in  the  Vedantic 
philosophy  is,  specifically,  "the  illusion  superimposed  upon  reality  as  an 
effect  of  ignorance";  for  example:  ignorant  of  the  nature  of  a  rope  seen 
lying  on  the  road,  one  may  perceive  a  snake.  Sankara  describes  the  entire 
visible  cosmos  as  maya,  an  illusion  superimposed  upon  true  being  by  man's 
deceitful  senses  and  unilluminaied  mind  (compare  Kant,  The  Critique  of 
Pure  Reason;  note  also  that  to  the  modern  physicist  a  minute  unit  of 
matter  may  appear  either  as  a  particle  or  as  a  wave  of  energy,  according  to 
the  instrument  with  which  it  is  absolved).  Cf.  Heinrich  Zimmer,  Myths 
and  Symbols  in  Indian  Art  and  Civilization,  The  Bollingen  Series  VI,  New 
York,  1946,  index,  under  "Maya." 



iv  ho  could  not  get  over  the  fact  of  his  own  royal  splendor  and 
august  personality.  When  his  teacher  directed  him  to  regard  all 
things,  including  the  exercise  of  power  and  enjoyment  of  kingly 
pleasure,  as  no  more  than  equally  indifferent  reflexes  (purely 
phenomenal)  of  the  transcendental  essence  that  was  the  Self  not 
only  of  himself  but  of  all  things,  he  felt  some  lesistance.  And 
when  he  was  told  that  that  one  and  only  Self  was  made  to  seem 
multiple  by  the  deluding-force  of  his  own  inborn  ignorance,  he 
determined  to  put  his  guru  to  the  test  and  prove  whether  he 
would  behave  as  a  person  absolutely  unconcerned. 

The  following  day,  therefore,  when  the  philosopher  was  coming 
along  one  of  the  stately  approaches  to  the  palace,  to  deliver  his 
next  lecture  to  the  king,  a  large  and  dangerous  elephant,  mad- 
dened by  heat,  was  let  loose  at  him.  Sarikara  turned  and  fled  the 
moment  he  perceived  his  danger,  and  when  the  animal  nearly 
reached  his  heels,  disappeared  fiom  view.  When  he  was  found, 
lie  was  at  the  top  of  a  lofty  palm  Lree,  which  he  had  ascended 
with  a  dexterity  more  usual  among  sailors  than  intellectuals. 
The  elephant  was  caught,  fettered,  and  conducted  back  to  the 
stables,  and  the  great  Sarikara,  perspiration  breaking  from  every 
pore,  came  before  his  pupil. 

Politely,  the  king  apologized  to  the  master  of  cryptic  wisdom 
for  die  unfoi  lunate,  nearly  disastrous  incident;  then,  with  a  smile 
scarcely  concealed  and  half  pretending  great  seriousness,  he  in- 
quired why  the  venerable  teacher  had  resorted  to  physical  flight, 
since  he  must  have  been  aware  that  the  elephant  was  of  a  purely 
illusory,  phenomenal  character. 

The  sage  replied,  "Indeed,  in  highest  truth,  the  elephant  is 
non-real.  Nevertheless,  you  and  I  are  as  non-real  as  that  elephant. 
Only  your  ignorance,  clouding  the  truth  with  this  spectacle  of 
non-real  phenomenalily,  made  you  see  phenomenal  me  go  up  a 
non-real  tree." 

The  second  anecdote  also  turns  on  the  undeniable  physical  im- 
pression made  by  an  elephant;  this  time,  however,  the  adhikarin 


is  a  very  earnest  seeker  who  takes  precisely  the  opposite  attitude 
lo  that  of  the  materialistic  king.  Sri  Ramakrishna  used  often  to 
recite  this  tale  to  illustrate  the  mystery  of  maya.  It  is  an  apt, 
surprising,  and  memorable  example,  touched  with  the  gentle 
humor  characteristic  of  so  many  Indian  popular  narratives. 

An  old  guru— so  we  hear— was  about  to  conclude  the  secret 
lessons  that  lie  had  been  giving  to  an  advanced  pupil  on  the 
omnipresence  of  (he  divine  Spiritual  Person.  "Everything,"  said 
the  wise  old  teacher,  while  his  pupil  listened,  indrawn  and  full  of 
the  bliss  of  learning,  "is  God,  the  Infinite,  pure  and  real,  bound- 
less and  beyond  the  pairs  ol  opposites,  devoid  of  differentiating 
qualities  and  limiting  distinctions.  That  is  the  final  meaning  of 
all  the  teachings  of  our  holy  wisdom." 

The  pupil  understood.  "God,"  he  responded,  "is  the  sole  real- 
ity. That  Divine  One  may  be  found  in  everything,  unaffected  by 
suffering  or  any  fault.  Every  You  and  1  is  Its  abode,  e\ery  form 
an  obscuring  figuration  within  which  that  unique,  unacting 
Activator  dwells."  He  was  elate:  a  wave  of  feeling  swept  through 
him  tremendously,  and  he  felt  luminous  and  immense,  like  a 
cloud  which,  increasing,  has  come  to  fill  the  firmament.  When 
he  walked,  now,  it  was  nimbly  and  without  weight. 

Sublime,  like  the  only  cloud,  in  all-pervading  solitude,  lie  was 
walking,  keeping  to  the  middle  of  the  road,  when  a  huge  ele- 
phant came  from  the  opposite  direction.  The  mahout,  or  driver, 
riding  on  the  neck,  shouted,  "Clear  the  way,"  and  the  numerous 
tinkling  bells  of  the  net-covering  of  the  great  animal  rang  with 
a  silvery  peal  to  the  rhythm  of  its  soft  inaudible  tread.  The  self- 
exalted  student  of  the  science  of  Vcdanta,  though  full  of  divine 
feeling,  yet  heard  and  saw  the  coming  of  the  elephant.  And  he 
said  to  himself,  "Why  should  I  make  way  for  that  elephant?  I 
am  God.  The  elephant  is  God.  Should  God  be  afraid  of  God?" 
And  so,  fearlessly  and  with  faith,  he  continued  in  the  middle  of 
the  road.  But  when  God  came  to  God,  the  elephant  swung  its 
trunk  around  the  waist  of  the  thinker  and  tossed  him  out  of  the 



way.  He  landed  hard  and  was  a  little  hurl,  but  more  greatly 
shocked.  Covered  with  dust,  limping,  bruised,  and  unsettled  in 
his  mind,  he  returned  to  the  teacher  and  recounted  his  confusing 
experience.  The  guru  listened  serenely,  and  when  the  tale  was 
told,  simply  replied,  "Indeed,  you  arc  God.  So  is  the  elephant. 
But  why  did  you  not  listen  to  God's  voice  calling  to  you  from 
the  mahout,  who  is  also  God,  to  clear  the  way?" 

To  some  extent,  real  philosophical  thinking  must  always  be 
difficult  to  grasp  in  the  whole  range  of  its  implications.  Even 
though  expressed  with  utter  clarity  and  the  most  precise  logical 
consistency,  it  yet  remains  elusive.  If  the  words  ol  Plato  and  Aris- 
totle, for  example,  had  been  finally  mastered  by  their  interpreters 
during  the  centuries  that  have  elapsed  since  their  first  inspired 
expression,  they  would  certainly  not  be  the  vital  topics  of  ever- 
renewed,  passionate  debate  and  research  that  they  remain  to  this 
very  moment.  A  profound  truth,  e\cn  though  comprehended  by 
the  most  penetrating  intellect  and  expressed  in  accurate  terms, 
will  be  read  in  conflicting  fashions  during  subsequent  periods. 
Apparently  assimilated  and  integrated,  it  will  yet  continue  to  be 
a  source  of  new  and  startling  discoveries  for  generations  to  come. 
Antiquity  possessed  the  whole  text  of  Heraclitus,  not  merely  the 
few  scanty  fragments  and  stray  references  that  have  survived  to 
us,  and  yet  he  was  known  even  then  as  the  "obscure  one."  He  is 
nevertheless  the  first  master  in  Western  literature  of  the  trench- 
ant sentence  and  the  succinct,  crystal-clear  aphorism. 

It  is  said  that  Hegel,  that  most  lofty  and  powerful  of  the 
Romantic  philosophers— at  once  clear  and  cryptic,  abstract  and 
realistic— was  being  comforted  by  one  of  his  pupils  when  he  was 
lying  on  his  deathbed  in  1831,  prematurely  stricken  by  cholera. 
The  comforter  was  one  of  his  most  intimate  friends  and  distin- 
guished followers;  and  he  was  seeking  to  reassure  the  master  by 
telling  him  that,  should  he  be  taken  away  before  completing  his 
encyclopedic,  gigantic  work,  there  would  remain  his  faithful 
pupils  to  carry  on.  Hegel,  serene  as  the  antarctic  silence,  on  the 



very  point  of  death,  only  raised  his  head  a  little.  "I  had  one  pupil 
who  understood  me,"  he  was  heard  to  mutter;  and  while  every- 
one present  became  alert  to  hear  the  venerated  teacher  pronounce 
the  name,  his  head  relaxed  again  to  the  pillow.  "One  pupil,"  he 
went  on,  "who  understood— and  he  misunderstood." 

Sucli  cutting  anecdotes  need  not  be  literally  true.  In  a  kind  of 
mocking  pictorial  script,  nevertheless,  they  usually  mirror  some- 
thing of  the  truth.  The  biographies  in  PI  march's  Lives  are  largely 
fables  of  this  sort,  told  of  the  famous  men  of  the  ancient  world. 
Like  the  Hindu  tales,  they  sharpen  the  point  of  what  is  true. 

Occidental  philosophy,  as  developed  through  the  long  and 
stately  series  of  its  distinguished  masters,  from  Pythagoras  to 
Empedocles  and  Plato,  from  Plotinus  and  the  Neoplatonic  think- 
ers to  the  mystics  of  the  Middle  Ages,  and  again  in  Spinoza  and 
Hegel,  deals  with  problems  beyond  the  sphere  of  common  sense, 
such  as  can  be  expressed  only  in  cryptic  difficult  formulae,  and  by 
paradox.  Indian  philosophy  does  the  same.  The  Oriental  think- 
ers are  as  fully  aware  as  the  Western  of  the  fact  that  the  means 
offered  by  the  mind  and  the  powers  of  reason  are  not  adequate 
to  the  problem  of  grasping  and  expressing  truth.  Thinking  is 
limited  by  language.  Thinking  is  a  kind  of  soundless  interior 
talk.  What  cannot  be  formulated  in  the  current  words  or  sym- 
bols of  the  given  tradition  does  not  exist  in  current  thinking. 
And  it  requires,  therefore,  a  specific  creative  effort  on  the  part 
of  a  bold,  fervent  mind  to  break  through  to  what  is  not  being 
said— to  view  it  at  all;  and  then  another  effort  to  bring  it  back 
into  the  field  of  language  by  coining  a  term.  Unknown,  unnamed, 
non-existing  as  it  were,  and  yet  existing  verily,  the  truth  must 
be  won  to,  found,  and  carried  back  through  the  brain  into  speech 
—where,  inevitably,  it  will  again  be  immediately  mislaid. 

The  possibilities  for  thought,  practical  or  otherwise,  at  any 

period,  are  thus  rigidly  limited  by  the  range  and  wealth  of  the 

available  linguistic  coinage:  the  number  and  scope  of  the  nouns, 

verbs,  adjectives,  and  connectives.  The  totality  of  this  currency 



is  called,  in  Indian  philosophy,  naman  (Latin  nomen,  our  word 
"name").  The  very  substance  on  and  by  which  the  mind  oper- 
ates when  thinking  consists  of  this  name-treasury  of  notions. 
Naman  is  the  internal  realm  of  concepts,  which  corresponds  to 
the  external  realm  of  perceived  "forms,"  the  Sanskrit  term  for 
the  latter  being  rupa,  "form,"  "shape,"  "color"  (for  there  are  no 
shapes  or  forms  without  color).  Rupa  is  the  outer  counterpart 
of  naman;  naman  the  interior  of  rupa.  Nama-rupa  therefore 
denotes,  on  the  one  hand,  man,  the  experiencing,  thinking  indi- 
vidual, man  as  endowed  with  mind  and  senses,  and  on  the  other, 
all  the  means  and  objects  of  thought  and  perception.  Nama- 
rupa  is  the  whole  world,  subjective  and  objective,  as  observed 
and  known. 

Now,  all  of  the  schools  of  Indian  philosophy,  though  greatly 
diverging  in  their  formulations  of  the  essence  of  ultimate  truth 
or  basic  reality,  are  unanimous  in  asserting  that  the  ultimate  ob- 
ject of  thought  and  final  goal  of  knowledge  lies  beyond  the  range 
of  nama-rupa.  Both  Vedantic  Hinduism  and  Mahayana  Bud- 
dhism constantly  insist  on  the  inadequacy  of  language  and  logical 
thought  for  the  expression  and  comprehension  of  their  systems. 
According  to  the  classical  Vedantic  formula,  the  fundamental 
factor  responsible  for  the  character  and  problems  of  our  normal 
day-world  consciousness,  the  force  that  builds  the  ego  and  leads 
it  to  mistake  itself  and  its  experiences  for  reality,  is  "ignorance, 
nescience"  (avidya).  This  ignorance  is  to  be  described  neither  as 
"being  or  existent"  (sat),  nor  as  "non-being,  non-existent"  (a-sat), 
but  as  "ineffable,  inexplicable,  indescribable"  (a-nirvacaniya). 
For  if  it  were  "unreal,  non-existent"— so  the  argument  runs—it 
would  not  be  of  force  sufficient  to  bind  consciousness  to  the  lim- 
itations of  the  individual  and  shroud  from  man's  inner  eye  the 
realization  of  the  immediate  reality  of  the  Self,  which  is  the  only 
Being.  But  on  the  other  hand,  if  it  were  "real,"  of  absolute  in- 
destructibility, then  it  could  not  be  so  readily  dispelled  by  knowl- 
edge (vidya);  the  Self  (atmari)  would  never  have  been  discovered 


as  the  ultimate  substratum  of  all  existences,  and  there  would 
be  no  doctrine  of  Vedanta  capable  of  guiding  the  intellect  to 
enlightenment.  "Ignorance"  cannot  be  said  to  be,  because  it 
changes.  Transiency  is  its  very  character— and  this  the  seeker  rec- 
ognizes the  moment  he  transcends  its  deluding  spell.  Its  form  is 
"the  form  of  becoming"  (bhava-riipa)— ephemeral,  perishable, 
conquerable.  And  yet  this  "ignorance"  itself  differs  from  the  spe- 
cific transient  phenomena  within  its  pale,  because  it  has  existed 
—though  ever  changing— from  time  immemorial.  Indeed,  it  is  the 
root,  the  very  cause  and  substance,  of  time.  And  the  paradox  is 
that  though  without  beginning  it  can  have  an  end.  For  the  indi- 
vidual, bound  by  it  to  the  everlasting  round-of-re birth,  and  sub- 
ject to  what  is  popularly  called  the  law  of  the  transmigration  of 
the  life-monad  or  soul,  can  become  aware  of  the  whole  sphere  of 
"ignorance"  as  an  existence  of  no  final  reality— simply  by  an  act 
of  interior  awareness  (anubhava),  or  a  moment  of  the  uncompli- 
cated realization,  "I  am  nescient"  {aham  ajiia). 

Indian  philosophy  insists  that  the  sphere  of  logical  thought  is 
far  exceeded  by  that  of  the  mind's  possible  experiences  of  real- 
ity. To  express  and  communicate  knowledge  gained  in  moments 
of  grammar-transcending  insight  metaphors  must  be  used,  similes 
and  allegories.  These  arc  then  not  mere  embellishments,  dispen- 
sable accessories,  but  the  very  vehicles  of  the  meaning,  which 
could  not  be  rendered,  and  could  never  have  been  attained, 
through  the  logical  formulae  of  normal  verbal  thought.  Signifi- 
cant images  can  comprehend  and  make  manifest  with  clarity  and 
pictorial  consistency  the  paradoxical  character  of  the  reality 
known  to  the  sage:  a  translogical  reality,  which,  expressed  in  the 
abstract  language  of  normal  thought,  would  seem  inconsistent, 
self-contradictory,  or  even  absolutely  meaningless.  Indian  philos- 
ophy, therefore,  frankly  avails  itself  of  the  symbols  and  images 
of  myth,  and  is  not  finally  at  variance  with  the  patterns  and  sense 
of  mythological  belief. 

The  Greek  critical  philosophers  before  Socrates,  the  pre- 


Socratic  thinkers  and  the  Sophists,  practically  destroyed  their 
native  mythological  tradition.  Their  new  approach  to  the  solu- 
tion of  the  enigmas  of  the  universe  and  of  man's  nature  and 
destiny  conformed  to  the  logic  of  the  rising  natural  sciences- 
mathematics,  physics,  and  astronomy.  Under  their  powerful  in- 
fluence the  older  mythological  symbols  degenerated  into  mere 
elegant  and  amusing  themes  for  novels,  little  better  than  society 
gossip  about  the  complicated  love-affairs  and  quarrels  of  the 
celestial  upper  class.  Contrariwise  in  India,  however:  there  my- 
thology never  ceased  to  support  and  facilitate  the  expression  of 
philosophic  thought.  The  rich  pictorial  script  of  the  epic  tradi- 
tion, the  features  of  the  divinities  whose  incarnations  and  ex- 
ploits constituted  the  myth,  the  symbols  of  religion,  popular  as 
well  as  esoteric,  loaned  themselves,  again  and  again,  to  the  pur- 
pose of  the  teachers,  becoming  the  receptacles  of  their  truth- 
renewing  experience  and  the  vehicles  of  their  communication. 
In  this  way  a  co-operation  of  the  latest  and  the  oldest,  the  highest 
and  the  lowest,  a  wonderful  friendship  of  mythology  and  philos- 
ophy, was  effected;  and  this  has  been  sustained  with  such  lesult 
that  the  whole  edifice  of  Indian  civilization  is  imbued  with  spir- 
itual meaning.  The  close  interdependence  and  perfect  hainioni- 
zation  of  the  two  serve  to  counteract  the  natural  tendency  of 
Indian  philosophy  to  become  recondite  and  esoteric,  removed 
from  life  and  the  task  of  the  education  of  society.  In  the  Hindu 
world,  the  folklore  and  popular  mythology  carry  the  truths  and 
teachings  of  the  philosophers  to  the  masses.  In  this  symbolic  form, 
the  ideas  do  nor  have  to  be  watered  down  to  be  popularized. 
The  vivid,  perfectly  appropriate  pictorial  script  preserves  the 
doctrines  without  the  slightest  damage  to  their  sense. 

Indian  philosophy  is  basically  skeptical  of  words,  skeptical  of 
their  adequacy  to  render  the  main  topic  of  philosophical  thought, 
and  therefore  very  cautious  about  trying  to  bring  into  a  purely 
intellectual  formula  the  answer  to  the  riddle  of  the  universe  and 
man's  existence.  "What  is  all  this  around  me,  this  world  in  which 


I  find  myself?  What  is  this  process  carrying  me  on,  together  with 
the  earth?  Whence  has  it  all  proceeded?  Whither  is  it  tending? 
And  what  is  to  be  my  role,  my  duly,  my  goal,  amidst  this  bewil- 
dering breath-taking  drama  in  which  I  find  myself  involved?" 
That  is  the  basic  problem  in  the  mind  of  men  when  they  start 
philosophizing  and  before  they  reduce  their  aspirations  to  ques- 
tions of  methodology  and  the  criticism  of  their  own  menial  and 
sensual  faculties.  "All  this  around  me,  and  my  own  being":  that 
is  the  net  of  entanglement  called  maya,  the  world  creative  power. 
Maya  manifests  its  force  through  the  rolling  universe  and  evolv- 
ing forms  of  individuals.  To  understand  that  secret,  to  know  how 
it  works,  and  to  transcend,  if  possible,  its  cosmic  spell— breaking 
outward  through  the  layers  of  tangible  and  visible  appearance, 
and  simultaneously  inward  through  all  the  intellectual  and  emo- 
tional stratifications  of  the  psyche— this  is  the  pursuit  conceived 
by  Indian  philosophy  to  be  the  primary,  and  finally  undeniable, 
human  task. 

The  Claims  of  Science 

When  I  was  a  student,  the  term  "Indian  philosophy"  was 
usually  regarded  as  self-contradictory,  a  contradictio  in  ad- 
jecto,  comparable  to  such  an  absurdity  as  "wooden  steel." 
"Indian  philosophy"  was  something  that  simply  did  not  exist, 
like  a  "mare's  nest,"  or,  as  Hindu  logicians  say,  like  the  "horns 
of  a  hare"  or  the  "son  of  a  barren  woman."  Among  all  the  pro- 
fessors holding  permanent  chairs  in  philosophy  at  that  time 


there  was  but  one  lone  enthusiast,  a  follower  of  Schopenhauer, 
old  Paul  Deussen,  who  regularly  delivered  lectures  in  Indian 
philosophy.  Of  course,  to  some  extent,  the  orientalists  were  pro- 
viding information  by  redacting  texts— assisted  perhaps  by  some 
solitary  pupil;  but  they  never  troubled  to  investigate  the  prob- 
lem of  whether  there  was  such  a  tiling  as  "Indian  philosophy." 
Whatever  they  encountered  in  their  documents  they  interpreted 
on  a  philological  basis,  and  then  they  moved  along  to  the  fol- 
lowing line.  Meanwhile  the  philosophy  professors  were  agreeing 
unanimously— some  politely,  some  impolitely— that  such  a  thing 
as  philosophy,  in  the  proper  sense  of  the  term,  simply  did  not 
exist  outside  of  Europe.  And  as  we  shall  presently  sec,  this  was 
an  attitude  not  without  a  certain  technical  justification. 

But  on  the  other  hand,  another  group  of  historians  was  de- 
veloping at  that  time  a  broader  and  more  inspiring  view  of  the 
history  of  ideas  and  the  evolution  of  the  human  mind.  Foremost 
among  these  was  Wilhelm  Dilthev.  Such  men  felt  the  necessity, 
though  they  lacked  the  ability,  to  incorporate  the  philosophies 
of  India  and  China,  at  least  in  any  work  pretending  to  be  a  uni- 
versal history  of  human  thought.  They  argued— as  has  been  gen- 
erally admitted  since— that  if  a  thinker  of  the  order  of  Ilobbes 
is  to  be  admitted  to  your  list  of  significant  minds,  then  you  can- 
not disregard  Confucius  on  education,  state  policy,  government, 
and  ethics.  Or  if  Machiavelli  is  to  be  treated  as  the  first  modern 
political  thinker,  something  must  be  said  about  the  Hindu  sys- 
tem represented  in  the  Arthasastra.1-  Similarly,  if  St.  Augustine, 
St.  Thomas  Aquinas,  and  Pascal  are  to  he  called  religious  philos- 
ophers, then  the  great  Hindu  divines  like  Sarikara  and  Rama- 
nuja13— who,  with  a  fully  Hedged  scholastic  technique, expounded 
the  philosophic  foundations  of  orthodox  Vedantic  theology— can- 
not be  left  aside.  And  the  moment  you  recognize  Plotinus  or 
Meister  Eckhart  as  a  philosopher,  Lao-tse  cannot  be  ignored,  nor 

"Infra,  pp.  35-38  and  87.139. 
"  Infra,  pp.  414ft.;  458-459. 



the  masters  of  Hindu  and  Buddhist  yoga.  References  to  China 
and  India,  therefore,  were  added  to  our  Western  histories  of 
thought,  as  footnotes,  side-glances,  or  preliminary  chapters,  em- 
bellishing the  story  of  "real"  philosophy,  which  began  with  the 
Ionian  Greeks,  Thales,  Anaximander,  and  I  Icraclitus,  in  the  sixth 
and  fifth  centuries  B.C."* 

In  spite  of  the  influence  of  this  point  of  view,  many  remained 
reluctant,  even  in  the  first  years  of  the  present  century,  to  confer 
on  Hindu  thought  the  dignifying  title  "philosophy."  "Philoso- 
phy," they  claimed,  was  a  Greek  term,dcnoting  something  unique 
and  particularly  noble,  which  had  sprung  into  existence  among 
the  Greeks  and  been  carried  on  only  by  Western  civilization. 
To  support  this  contention,  they  could  refer  to  the  authority  of 
the  giant  Hegel,  who,  a  full  century  before  them,  with  a  masterly 
intuition  and  thorough  command  of  the  information  then  avail- 
able, had  discussed  India  and  China  in  his  Philosophy  of  Reli- 
gion and  Philosophy  of  History.  Hegel  coined  certain  formulae 
that  are  still  unsurpassed  for  the  study  of  history,  and  have  been 
corroborated  by  our  most  recent  knowledge  of  facts  and  sources 
(which  is  vastly  more  than  what  was  available  to  him).  Second 
to  none  in  his  intuitive  grasp,  he  yet  banished  India  and  China, 
together  with  their  philosophies,  from  the  principal  chapters 
of  his  thought,  regarding  the  achievements  of  those  almost 
unknown  civilizations  as  a  kind  of  prelude  to  the  rise  of  the 
curtain  on  "real"  history,  which  began  in  the  Near  East,  and 
"real"  philosophy,  which  was  an  invention  of  the  Greeks.  Hegel's 
argument— and  it  is  still  the  argument  of  those  who  entertain 

u  Georg  Misch,  a  pupil  of  Dilthcy  and  the  editor  of  his  mounds  of 
posthumous  manuscripts,  who  is  now  [1942]  in  Cambridge,  England,  has 
compared  the  steps  and  stages  of  Greek  philosophy  during  the  period 
before  Plato  with  parallel  developments  in  Chinese  and  Indian  history. 
He  has  brought  together  from  each  of  the  three  traditions  texts  dealing 
with  similar  problems,  and  has  presented  these  in  a  series  of  choice  [German] 
translations,  together  with  commentaries.  (Georg  Misch,  Der  We$  in  rfc*i 
Philosophic,  Leipzig,  1926.) 



the  old  reluctance  to  confer  the  title  "philosopher"  upon  the 
immortal  thinkers  o£  India  and  China— is  that  something  is  miss- 
ing from  the  Oriental  systems.  When  they  are  compared  with 
Western  philosophy,  as  developed  in  antiquity  and  in  modern 
times,  what  is  obviously  lacking  is  the  ever  renewed,  fructifying, 
close  contact  with  the  progressive  natural  sciences— their  improv- 
ing critical  methods  and  their  increasingly  secular,  non-theologi- 
cal, practically  anlireligious,  outlook  on  man  and  the  world.  This 
is  enough,  we  are  asked  to  agree,  to  justify  the  Western  restric- 
tion of  its  classic  term. 

Here,  it  must  be  admitted,  the  Old  Guard  are  quite  correct. 
A  close  and  continuous  interrelationship  with  rational  science 
has  been  a  distinguishing  trait  of  Western  philosophy;  consider, 
for  instance,  the  role  of  applied  mathematics  in  Greek  astronomy, 
mechanics,  and  physics,  or  the  approach  to  zoology  and  botany 
of  such  thinkers  as  Aristotle  and  Theophrastus— methodical,  and 
unclouded  by  any  theological  or  mythical  conceptions.  It  has 
been  argued  that  Indian  thought,  at  its  best,  may  be  compared 
not  with  the  great  line  of  Western  philosophy,  but  only  with  the 
Christian  thinking  of  the  Middle  Ages,  from  the  Fathers  to  St. 
Thomas  Aquinas,  when  philosophical  speculation  was  kept  sub- 
servient to  the  claims  of  the  "revealed"  faith  and  compelled  to 
enact  the  part  of  helpmate  or  handmaid  of  theology  {ancilla 
theologiae),  and  was  never  permitted  to  challenge  or  analyze  the 
dogmatic  foundations  laid  down  and  interpreted  by  the  decrees 
of  the  popes  and  maintained  by  the  persecution  of  all  heretics 
and  freethinkers.  Greek  philosophy,  and  then  likewise  modern 
philosophy— as  represented  by  Giordano  Bruno  (who  perished 
at  the  stake)  and  Descartes— lias  invariably  brought  intellectual 
revolution  in  its  wake,  effecting  a  radical  and  ever  increasing  dis- 
entanglement of  thought  from  the  meshes  of  religious  tradition- 
alism. Already  in  the  middle  of  the  fifth  century  B.C.  Anaxagoras 
was  banished  from  Athens  for  declaring  that  the  sun  was  not  the 
sun-god  Helios  but  an  incandescent  celestial  sphere.  Among  the 


crimes  of  which  Socrates  was  accused,  and  for  which  he  had  to 
drain  the  deadly  cup,  was  a  lack  of  faith  in  the  established  reli- 
gion, that  of  the  local  tutelary  deities  of  Athens.  While  from  the 
days  of  Bruno  and  Galileo  on,  our  modern  sciences  and  philos- 
ophy have  arrived  at  their  present  maturity  only  by  battling  at 
every  step  the  doctrines  of  man  and  nature  that  were  the  tradi- 
tion and  established  treasure  of  theChurch.  Nothing  comparable, 
or  at  least  nothing  of  such  a  revolutionizing  and  explosive  mag- 
nitude, has  ever  shown  itself  in  die  traditional  East. 

Western  philosophy  has  become  the  guardian  angel  of  right 
(i.e.,  unprejudiced,  critical)  thinking.  It  has  earned  this  position 
through  its  repeated  contacts  with,  and  unwavering  loyalty  to, 
the  progressive  methods  of  thought  in  the  sciences.  And  it  will 
support  its  champion  even  though  the  end  may  be  the  destruc- 
tion of  all  traditional  values  whatsoever,  in  society,  religion,  and 
philosophy.  The  nineteenth-century  thinkers  who  declined  to 
accept  Indian  philosophy  on  the  par  level  did  so  because  thev 
felt  responsible  to  the  truth  of  the  modern  sciences.  This  had 
been  established  by  experiment  and  criticism.  And  philosophy, 
as  they  conceived  it,  was  to  expound  the  methods  of  such  ra- 
tional progress,  while  safeguarding  them  against  dilettantism, 
wishful  thinking,  and  the  ingrained  prepossessions  of  any  un- 
disciplined speculation  conducted  along  the  discredited  lines  of 
archaic  man. 

There  is,  on  the  other  hand,  an  attitude  of  hallowed  tradition- 
alism conspicuous  in  most  of  the  great  documents  of  Eastern 
thought,  a  readiness  to  submit  to  the  authoritative  utterances  of 
inspired  teachers  claiming  direct  contact  with  transcendental 
truth.  This  would  seem  to  indicate  an  incorrigible  preference 
for  vision,  intuition,  and  metaphysical  experience  rather  than 
experiment,  laboratory  work,  and  the  reduction  of  the  exact  data 
of  the  senses  to  mathematical  formulae.  There  was  never  in  India 
any  such  close  affinity  between  natural  science  and  philosophy 
as  to  bring  about  a  significant  cross-fertilization.  Nothing  in 


Hindu  physics,  botany,  or  zoology  can  compare  with  the  mature 
achievements  of  Aristotle,  Theophrastus,  Eratosthenes,  and  the 
scientists  in  Hellenistic  Alexandria.  Indian  reasoning  has  re- 
mained uninfluenced  by  such  criticism,  new  raw  material,  and 
inspiration  as  the  Occidental  thinkers  have  continually  received 
from  sources  of  this  kind.  And  if  the  Indian  natural  sciences 
cannot  be  said  ever  to  have  equaled  those  known  to  Europe  even 
in  the  time  of  the  Greeks,  how  much  greater  is  the  inequality 
today  I 

Under  the  impact  of  the  sweeping  achievements  of  our  labo- 
ratories, modern  philosophy  lias  completely  refashioned  its  con- 
ception of  its  problems.  Without  the  development  of  a  modern 
mathematics,  physics,  and  astronomy,  through  the  work  of  Gali- 
leo, Ton  icclli,  and  their  contemporaries,  the  new  way  of  thought 
represented  by  Descartes  and  Spinoza  would  never  have  been 
found.  Spinoza  earned  his  livelihood  as  an  optician,  making 
lenses— a  modern,  advanced  tool  of  the  newest  sciences.  The 
versa l i le  lilework  of  Leibnitz  exhibited  most  conspicuously  the 
close  interrelationship,  nay  fusion,  of  mathematics  and  physics 
with  seventeenth-century  philosophy.  And  one  cannot  study  Kant 
without  becoming  aware  of  Newton.  During  the  nineteenth  cen- 
tury, science  found  its  counterpart  in  the  posithtstic,  einpiristic 
philosophies  of  Comte,  Mill,  and  Spencer.  Indeed,  the  whole 
course  of  modern  Western  thought  has  been  established  by  the 
pacemaking,  relentless  progress  of  our  secularized,  rational  sci- 
ences, from  the  day  of  Francis  Bacon  and  the  rise  of  the  New 
Learning,  even  to  the  present  moment,  when  the  staggering  the- 
ories of  Einstein,  Heiscnherg,  Planck,  Eddington,  and  Dirac. 
on  the  structure  of  the  atom  and  the  universe,  have  projected 
the  new  task  for  the  philosophers  not  only  of  today  but  of  genera- 
tions to  come. 

Absolutely  nothing  of  this  kind  will  be  found  in  the  history 
of  India,  though  in  classical  antiquity  a  corresponding  situation 
is  marked  by  the  grand  sequence  from  Thales  to  Democritus, 


and  through  Plato  and  Aristotle  to  Lucretius.  Not  a  few  of  the 
pre-Socratics  were  distinguished  in  mathematics,  physics,  and 
astronomy,  as  well  as  in  philosophical  speculation.  Thalcs  won 
more  fame  when  he  predicted  an  eclipse  of  the  sun  by  means  of 
mathematics  applied  to  problems  of  cosmology  than  he  ever 
gained  among  his  contemporaries  by  declaring  water  to  be  the 
primary  element  of  the  universe— an  idea  that  had  been  common 
to  various  earlier  mythologies.  Pythagoras,  similarly,  is  celebrated 
as  the  discoverer  of  certain  basic  principles  of  acoustics.  Aristotle 
writes  of  the  followers  of  Pythagoras  that  they  "applied  them- 
selves to  the  study  of  mathematics  and  were  the  first  to  advance 
that  science.""  Regarding  the  principles  of  number  as  the  first 
principles  of  all  existing  things,  Pythagoras,  by  experiment,  dis- 
covered the  dependence  of  the  musical  intervals  on  certain  arith- 
metical ratios  of  lengths  of  string  at  the  same  tension;  and  the 
laws  of  harmony  thus  discovered  he  applied  to  the  interpretation 
of  the  whole  structure  of  the  cosmos.  Thus  in  ancient  Greece,  as 
in  Europe  today,  philosophical  speculation  concerning  the  struc- 
ture and  forces  of  the  universe,  the  nature  of  all  things,  and  the 
essential  character  of  man  was  already  largely  actuated  by  a  spirit 
of  scientific  inquiry;  and  the  result  was  a  dissolution  of  the  ar- 
chaic, established,  mythological  and  theological  ideas  about  man 
and  the  world.  Traditionalism  based  on  revelation  and  time- 
honored  visions  became  discredited.  A  scries  of  intellectual  revo- 
lutions followed,  which  were  in  part  the  cause  and  spiritual 
prototype  of  the  collapse,  centuries  later,  of  our  established  so- 
cial systems— from  the  French  Revolution  in  1789  to  the  Russian 
and  Central  European  revolutions  of  the  present  century,  and, 
last  but  not  least,  the  recent  upheavals  in  Mexico,  South  Amer- 
ica, and  China. 

Indian  philosophy,  on  the  contrary,  has  remained  traditional. 

Supported  and  refreshed  not  by  outward-directed  experiment, 

but  by  the  inward-turned  experiences  of  yoga-practice,  it  has  in- 

»»  Aristotle,  The  Metaphysics  I.  v.  (Loeb  Classical  Library,  Vol.  I.  p.  33). 



terpreted  rather  than  destroyed  inherited  belief,  and  in  turn  been 
both  interpreted  and  corrected  by  the  forces  of  religion.  Philos- 
ophy and  religion  differ  in  India  on  certain  points;  but  there  has 
never  been  a  dissolving,  over-all  attack  from  the  representatives 
of  pure  criticism  against  the  immemorial  stronghold  of  popular 
belief.  In  the  end,  the  two  establishments  have  reinforced  each 
other,  so  that  in  each  may  be  found  characteristics  which  in  Eu- 
rope we  should  attribute  only  to  its  opposite.  This  is  why  the 
professors  in  our  universities  who  for  so  long  were  reluctant  to 
dignify  Indian  thinking  about  our  everlasting  human  problems 
with  the  Greek  and  Western  title  "philosophy"  were  far  from 
being  unjustified.  Nevertheless— and  this  is  what  I  hope  to  be 
able  to  show— there  exists  and  has  existed  in  India  what  is  indeed 
a  real  philosophy,  as  bold  and  breath-taking  an  adventure  as  any- 
thing ever  hazarded  in  the  Western  world.  Only,  it  emerges  from 
an  Eastern  situation  and  pattern  of  culture,  aims  at  ends  that  are 
comparatively  unfamiliar  to  the  modern  academic  schools,  and 
avails  itself  of  alien  methods— the  ends  or  goals  being  precisely 
those  that  inspired  Plotinus,  Scotus  Erigena,  and  Meister  Eck- 
hart,  as  well  as  the  philosophic  flights  of  such  thinkers  of  the 
period  before  Socrates  as  Parmenides,  Empedocles,  Pythagoras, 
and  Heraclitus. 

The  Four  Aims  of  Life 

The  fact  remains:   there  is  no  one  word  in  Sanskrit  to 
cover  and  include  everything  in  the  Indian  literary  tradition  that 
we  should  be  disposed  to  term  philosophical.  The  Hindus  have 


several  ways  of  classifying  the  thoughts  which  they  regard  as 
worth  learning  and  handing  down,  but  no  single  heading  under 
which  to  comprehend  all  of  their  basic  generalizations  about 
reality,  human  nature,  and  conduct.  The  first  and  most  impor- 
tant of  their  systems  of  classification  is  that  of  the  four  aims,  or 
ends,  or  areas,  of  human  life. 

/.  Artha,  the  first  aim,  is  material  possessions.  The  arts  that 
serve  this  aim  are  those  of  economics  and  politics,  the  techniques 
of  surviving  in  the  struggle  for  existence  against  jealousy  and 
competition,  calumny  and  blackmail,  the  bullying  tyranny  of 
despots,  and  the  violence  of  reckless  neighbors.  Literally,  the 
word  artha  means  "tiling,  object,  substance,"  and  comprises  the 
whole  range  of  the  tangible  objects  that  can  be  possessed,  en- 
joyed, and  lost,  and  which  we  require  in  daily  life  for  the  upkeep 
of  a  household,  raising  of  a  family,  and  discharge  of  religious 
duties,  i.e.,  for  the  virtuous  fulfillment  of  life's  obligations.1"  Ob- 
jects contribute  also  to  sensuous  enjoyment,17  gratification  of  the 
feelings,  and  satisfaction  of  the  legitimate  requirement  of  human 
nature:  love,  beautiful  works  of  art,  ilowers,  jewels,  fine  clothing, 
comfortable  housing,  and  the  pleasures  of  the  table.  The  word 
artha  thus  connotes  "the  attainment  of  riches  and  wordly  pros- 
perity, advantage,  profit,  wealth,"  also,  "result";  in  commercial 
life:  "business-matter,  business-affair,  work,  price";  and  in  law: 
"plaint,  action,  petition."  With  reference  to  the  external  world, 
artha,  in  its  widest  connotation,  signifies  "that  which  can  be 
perceived,  an  object  of  the  senses";  with  reference  to  the  interior 

18  Religious  and  social  duties  arc  regarded  in  India  as  a  debt  contracted 
through  coming  into  existence  in  the  community  and  remaining  in  it  as 
a  member.  The  debt  is  to  be  paid  to  the  gods  who  protect  and  favor  us, 
the  ancestors  to  whom  we  owe  our  existence,  and  our  fellow  creatures, 
with  whom  we  share  life's  joys  and  sorrows.  The  virtuous  fulfillment  of 
one's  life-role  (dharma)  will  be  discussed  below  (pp.  40-41  and  151-177), 
as  the  third  of  the  Four  Aims. 

11  Pleasure  (kama)  is  another  of  the  Four  Aims;  cf.  infra,  pp.  38-41  and 
140-1 5a 



world  of  the  psyche:  "end  and  aim,  purpose,  object,  wish,  desire, 
motive,  cause,  reason,  interest,  use,  want,  and  concern";  and  as 
the  last  member  oE  a  compound,  -artha:  "for  the  sake  of,  on  be- 
half of,  for,  intended  for."  The  term  thus  bundles  together  all 
the  meanings  of  1.  the  object  of  human  pursuit,  2.  the  means 
of  this  pursuit,  and  3.  the  needs  and  the  desire  suggesting  this 

There  exists  in  India  a  special  literature  on  the  subject  wherein 
the  field  of  the  inquiry  is  narrowed  to  the  specific  area  of  politics: 
the  politics  of  the  individual  in  everyday  life,  and  the  politics 
of  the  gaining,  exercise,  and  maintenance  of  power  and  wealth 
as  a  king.  This  art  is  illustrated  by  the  beast  fable— a  most  re- 
markable vehicle  for  the  presentation  of  a  realistic  philosophy 
of  life.  Case  histories  from  the  animal  realm  develop  and  illumi- 
nate a  ruthless  science  of  survival,  a  completely  unsentimental 
craft  of  prospering  in  the  face  of  the  constant  danger  that  must 
e\er  link  in  the  clandestine  and  open  struggle  of  beings  for  life 
and  supremacy.  Like  all  Indian  doctrines,  this  one  is  highly  spe- 
cialized and  designed  to  impart  a  skill.  It  is  not  confused  or 
basically  modified  by  moral  inhibitions;  the  techniques  are  pre- 
sented chemically  pure.  The  textbooks  arc  dry,  witty,  merciless, 
and  cynical,  reflecting  on  the  human  plane  the  pitiless  laws  of 
the  animal  conflict.  Beings  devouring  each  other,  thriving  on 
each  other,  maintaining  themselves  against  each  other,  inspire 
the  patterns  of  the  thought.  The  basic  principles  are  those  of 
the  deep  sea;  hence  the  doctrine  is  named  Malsya-nyaya,  "The 
Principle  or  Law  (nydya)  of  the  Fishes  (matsya)"— which  is  to  say, 
"the  big  ones  eat  the  little  ones."  The  teaching  is  also  called 
ArthaSastra,  "The Authoritative  Handbook  (idstra)  of  the  Science 
of  Wealth  (artha),"  wherein  are  to  be  found  all  the  timeless  laws 
of  politics,  economy,  diplomacy,  and  war. 

The  literature  of  the  subject  thus  comprises,  on  the  one  hand, 
beast  fables,  and  on  the  other,  systematic  and  aphoristic  treatises. 
Of  the  former,  the  two  best  known  are  the  Pancatantra,  "The 



Five  (paflca)  Looms  or  Warps  (tantra),"  i.e.,  "The  Five  Treatises,'' 
and  the  Hilopadesa,  "Instruction  (upadesa)  in  What  Is  Advan- 
tageous and  Beneficial  (hita)."  Of  the  systematic  treatises,  by  far 
the  most  important  is  an  encyclopedic  work  known  as  the 
Kaulillya  Arthaiastra,  named  after  and  traditionally  attributed 
to  Canakya  Kautilya,  the  legendary  chancellor  of  Candragupta 
Maurya,  who  nourished  at  the  end  of  the  fourth  century  B.C.  At 
the  time  of  Alexander  the  Great's  raid  into  northwestern  India, 
32C  B.C.,  the  northeastern  provinces  were  governed  by  the  Nanda 
dynasiy:  some  five  years  following  the  raid,  Candragupta,  whose 
father  may  have  been  a  Nanda,  but  whose  mother  was  a  woman 
of  inferior  birth,  overthrew  tin's  house  and  founded  the  empire 
of  the  Mauryas,  one  of  the  most  powerful  of  Indian  history.  The 
political  handbook  attributed  to  the  wise  and  crafty  Brahman 
who  is  supposed  to  have  advised  and  supported  him  in  his  enter- 
prise gives  an  extensive,  detailed,  and  vivid  picture  of  the  style 
and  techniques  of  Hindu  government,  statecraft,  warfare,  and 
public  life,  in  the  period  in  question.1*  A  much  briefer  treatise, 
the  so-called  Bfuhasputya  ArOmsustia,  is  a  compact  collection  of 
aphorisms  supposed  to  have  been  revealed  by  the  divinity 
Brhaspati,  the  mythical  chancellor,  house-priest,  and  chief  ad- 
viser in  world  politics  of  India,  king  of  the  gods.19  Still  another 
summary  is  Kamandaki's  At'it//iflrrt,"The  Extract, Juice, or  Essence 
(sdra)  of  Government,  or  Proper  Conduct  (mri)."so  This  is  a 

18  KautUlya  Arthaiastra,  edited  by  R.  Shamasastry,  Mysore,  1909;  2nd 
edition,  revised,  1919.  A  translation  by  the  same  hand  was  published  in 
Bangalore,  1915;  and  edition,  1923. 

10  Harhaspatya  Arthaiastra,  edited  and  translated  by  F.  W.  Thorn?..*,  Pun- 
jab Sanskrit  Series,  Lahore,  1921.  For  Brhaspati,  cf.  infra,  pp.  76-77. 

2n  Kamandakiya  Nitisara,  translated  by  M.  N.  Dutt.  Wealth  of  India 
Series,  Calcutta,  1896.  The  verb  wi  means  "to  lead,  convey,  conduct. 
guide,  govern,  direct,"  and  the  noun  rtlti:  "direction,  guidance,  manage- 
ment; behavior,  propriety,  decorum;  course  ol  action,  policy;  prudence, 
political  wisdom,  statesmanship."  Nifisara  therefore  is  a  synonym  for 



much  later  work  than  Kautilya's,  composed,  sometimes  delight- 
hilly,  in  didactic  verse,  and  claiming  to  contain  the  extract  or 
essence  of  the  earlier  compilation.  Valuable  materials  appear  also 
in  many  of  the  didactic  dialogues,  tales  and  fables  of  the  great 
national  epic,  the  M ah  fib  harata— stray  bits  and  fragments  from 
treatises  now  lost,  coming  down  from  the  Indian  feudal  age  of 
the  eighth  and  seventh  centuries  B.C.  And  we  have  some  other 
minor  works  in  which  the  science  is  modihed,  occasionally,  to 
accord  somewhat  with  the  claims  of  ethics  and  religion.21 

From  such  sources  a  vigorous,  resourceful,  and  absolutely  real- 
istic philosophy  of  practical  life  is  to  be  extracted,  as  well  as  a 
theory  of  diplomacy  and  government  that  is  certainly  compa- 
rable to  the  statecraft  of  Machiavelli  and  Hobbes.  The  Indian 
Arlhasastra  bears  comparison  and  shares  many  features,  also, 
with  Plato's  Republic  and  Laws,  and  Aristotle's  Politics. 

2.  Kama,  the  second  of  the  four  ends  of  life,  is  pleasure  and 
love.  In  Indian  mythology,  Kama  is  the  counterpart  of  Cupid. 
He  is  the  Hindu  god  of  love,  who,  with  flower-bow  and  five 
Hower-arrows,  sends  desire  quivering  to  the  heart.  Kama  is  de- 
sire incarnate,  and,  as  such,  lord  and  master  of  the  earth,  as  well 
as  of  the  lower  celestial  spheres. 

The  principal  surviving  classic  of  India's  Kama  teaching  is 
Vatsya)  ana's  celebrated  Kamasutra.-2  This  work  has  earned  India 
an  ambiguous  reputation  for  sensuality  that  is  rather  mislead- 
ing; for  the  subject  is  presented  on  an  entirely  secularized  and 
technical  level,  more  or  less  as  a  textbook  for  lovers  and  cour- 
tesans. The  dominant  attitude  of  the  Hindu,  in  actuality,  is  aus- 

21 A  review  of  the  literature  and  discussion  of  the  whole  topic  will  be 
found  in  M.  Wintcrnitz,  Geschichte  der  tndhchen  Litteraiur,  Leipzig, 
i«|20,  Rd.  Ill,  pp.  504-536. 

22  Sutra,  a   thread,  string  of  rules,  aphorisms  {compare  Latin  sutura, 
English  "suture"  and  "sew").  A  sutra  is  a  handbook,  or  book  of  rules. 
There  are  sutras  for  e\ery  department  of  Indian  life.  The  great  period 
of  composition  of  these  aphoristic  summaries  was  c.  500-200  it.c. 


one  of  the  essays  and  aphorisms  of  such  French  litterateur- 
psychologists  as  La  Bruyere,  La  Rochefoucauld,  Chamfort,  and 
Vauvenargucs— revivers  of  the  Greek  tradition  of  Theophrastus, 
who  in  his  turn  had  been  inspired  by  the  Greek  art  of  the  stage. 

3.  Dharma,  the  third  of  the  four  aims,  comprises  the  whole 
context  of  religious  and  moral  duties.  This  too  is  personified  as 
a  deity,  but  he  is  one  of  comparatively  abstract  character. 

The  texts  are  the  Dharmaiastras  and  Dliarmasutras,  or  Books 
of  the  Law.  Some  are  attributed  to  mythical  personages  such  as 
Manu,  forefather  of  man,  others  to  certain  eminent  Brahman 
saints  and  teachers  of  antiquity.  The  style  of  the  most  ancient— 
lor  example,  that  ol  Gautama,  o[  Apastamba,  and  of  Baudha- 
yana,  who  belong  to  the  fifth  and  following  centuries  B.C.23 
—resembles  that  of  the  later  Vedic  prose  tradition.  These  earlier 
works  are  filled  with  social,  ritual,  and  religious  prescriptions 
intended  for  one  or  another  of  the  Vcdic  schools.  But  the  later 
law  books— and  most  notably  the  great  compendium  assigned  to 
Manu  "—reach  out  to  cover  the  whole  context  of  orthodox  Hindu 
life.  The  rituals  and  numerous  social  regulations  of  the  three 
upper  castes,  Brahman  (priest),  Ksatriya  (noble),  VaHya  (mer- 
chant and  agriculturalist),  are  meticulously  formulated  on  the 
basis  of  immemorial  practices  ascribed  to  the  teaching  of  the 
Creator  himself.  Not  the  king  or  the  millionaire,  but  the  sage, 
the  saint,  theMahatma  (literally"magnanimous":  "great  (mahat) 
Self  or  Spirit  {atman)"),  receives  the  highest  place  and  honor  in 
this  system.  As  the  seer,  the  tongue  or  mouthpiece  of  the  time- 
less truth,  he  is  the  one  from  whom  all  society  derives  its  order. 
The  king  is,  properly,  but  the  administrator  of  that  order;  agri- 
culturalists and  merchants  supply  the  materials  that  give  em- 
bodiment to  the  form;  and  the  workers  (iudras)  are  those  who 
contribute  the  necessary  physical  labor.  Thus  all  are  co-ordinated 

"Translated  hy  G.  Biihlcr  in  the  Sacred  Books  of  the  East,  Vol.  II 
(Apastamba  and  Gautama)  and  Vol.  XIV  (Baudhayana). 
2*  Manava  Dharmaidstra,  translated  by  Biihler  in  ib..  Vol.  XXV. 


to  the  revelation,  preservation,  and  experience  of  the  one  great 
divinely-intended  image.  Dharma  is  the  doctrine  of  the  duties 
and  rights  of  each  in  the  ideal  society,  and  as  such  the  law  or 
mirror  of  all  moral  action. 

4.  Moksa,  apavarga,  virvrtli,  or  nivrtti,  the  fourth  of  the  Four 
Aims,  is  redemption,  or  spiritual  release.  This  is  regarded  as  the 
ultimate  aim,  the  final  human  good,  and  as  such  is  set  over  and 
against  the  former  three. 

Artha,  Kama,  and  Dharma,  known  as  the  trivarga,  the  "group 
of  three,"  are  the  pursuits  of  the  world;  each  implies  its  own 
orientation  or  "life  philosophy,"  and  to  each  a  special  literature 
is  dedicated.  But  by  far  the  greatest  measure  of  Indian  thought, 
research,  teaching,  and  writing  has  been  concerned  with  the  su- 
preme spiritual  theme  of  liberation  from  ignorance  and  from  the 
passions  of  the  world's  general  illusion.  Mokga,  from  the  root 
muc,  "to  loose,  set  free,  let  go,  release,  liberate,  deliver;  to  leave, 
abandon,  quit,"  means  "liberation,  escape,  freedom,  release; 
rescue,  deliverance;  final  emancipation  of  the  soul."  Apavarga, 
from  the  verb  apavrj,  "to  avert,  destroy,  dissipate;  tear  off,  pull 
out,  take  out,"  means  "throwing,  discharging  (a  missile),  aban- 
donment; completion,  end;  and  the  fulfillment,  or  accomplish- 
ment of  an  action."  Nirvrtti  is  "disappearance,  destruction,  rest, 
tranquility, completion ,  accomplishment,  liberation  from  worldly 
existence,  satisfaction,  happiness,  bliss";  and  nivrtti:  "cessation, 
termination,  disappearance;  abstinence  from  activity  or  work; 
leaving  off,  desisting  from,  resignation;  discontinuance  of  worldly 
acts  or  emotions;  quietism,  separation  from  the  world;  rest,  re- 
pose, felicity."  All  of  which  dictionary  terms  taken  together  sug- 
gest something  of  the  highest  end  of  man  as  conceived  by  the 
Indian  sage. 

India's  paramartha— "paramount  (parama)  object  (artha)"— is 
nothing  less  than  the  basic  reality  which  underlies  the  phenom- 
enal realm.  This  is  apprehended  when  the  mere  impressions  con- 
veyed by  the  physical  senses  to  a  nervous  brain  in  the  service 


of  the  passions  and  emotions  of  an  ego  no  longer  delude.  One  is 
then  "disillusioned."  l'aramarlha-vid,  "he  who  knows  (vid)  the 
paramount  object  (paramartha),"  is  consequently  the  Sanskrit 
word  that  the  dictionary  roughly  translates  "philosopher." 

Release  and  Progress 

The  gist  of  any  system  of  philosophy  can  best  be  grasped  in 
the  condensed  form  of  its  principal  terms.  An  elementary  ex- 
position must  be  concerned,  therefore,  with  presenting  and  in- 
terpreting the  words  through  which  the  main  ideas  have  to  be 
conceived.  Indian  thought  is  excellently  adapted  to  such  an  ap- 
proach; for  all  of  its  terms  belong  to  Sanskrit  and  have  long 
served  in  the  everyday  language  o[  poetry  and  romance  as  well 
as  in  such  technical  literatures  as  that  of  medicine.  They  are  not 
terms  confined  to  the  strange  and  unfamiliar  atmosphere  of  the 
specialized  schools  and  doctrines.  The  nouns,  for  example, 
which  constitute  the  bulk  of  the  philosophic  terminology,  stand 
side  by  side  with  verbs  that  have  been  derived  from  the  same 
roots  and  denote  activities  or  processes  expressive  of  the  same 
content.  One  can  always  come  to  the  basic  meaning  through  a 
study  of  the  common  uses  of  the  word  in  daily  life  and  by  this 
means  ascertain  not  only  its  implied  shades  and  values,  but  also 
its  suggested  metaphors  and  connotations.  All  of  which  is  in 
striking  contrast  with  the  situation  in  the  contemporary  West, 
where  by  far  the  greater  number  of  our  philosophical  terms 
have  been  borrowed  from  Greek  and  Latin,  stand  detached 


from  actual  life,  and  thus  suffer  from  an  inevitable  lack  of  vivid- 
ness and  clarity.  The  word  "idea"  means  very  different  things, 
for  example,  according  to  whether  it  is  Plato,  Locke,  the  mod- 
ern history  of  ideas,  psychology,  or  everyday  talk  that  one  is 
trying  to  understand.  Each  case,  each  authority  for  the  term, 
every  author,  period,  and  school,  must  be  taken  by  itself.  But 
the  Indian  vocabulary  is  so  closely  connected  with  the  general 
usage  of  the  civilization  that  it  can  always  be  interpreted 
through  the  way  of  the  general  understanding. 

By  reviewing  the  whole  range  of  values  covered  by  any  San- 
skrit term  one  can  watch  Indian  thought  at  work,  as  it  were 
from  within.  This  technique  corrects  the  unavoidable  misin- 
terpretations that  arise,  even  in  the  best  intended  translations, 
as  a  result  of  the  vastly  differing  range  of  associations  of  our 
European  terms.  Actually,  we  have  no  precise  verbal  equiv- 
alents for  translations  from  Sanskrit,  but  only  misleading  ap- 
proximations resounding  with  Occidental  associations  that  are 
necessarily  very  different  from  those  of  the  Indian  world.  This 
fact  has  led  the  West  to  all  sorts  of  false  deductions  as  to  the 
nature,  ends,  and  means  of  Oriental  thought.  Even  the  most 
faithful  interpreter  finds  himself  spreading  misinformation  sim- 
ply because  his  words  slip  into  a  European  context  the  moment 
they  leave  his  lips.  It  is  only  by  referring  continually  to  the 
Sanskrit  dictionary  that  one  can  begin  to  perceive  something 
of  the  broader  backgrounds  of  the  phrases  that  for  centuries 
have  served  to  carry  the  living  burden  of  Indian  thought. 

For  example,  the  emphasis  placed  by  the  ascetic  philosophies 
on  the  paramount  ideal  and  end  of  moksa,  and  the  consequent 
mass  of  literature  on  the  subject,  leads  the  Western  student  to 
an  extremely  one-sided  view  of  Indian  civilization.  The  true 
force  of  the  ideal  cannot  be  understood  out  of  context—and  that 
context  is  the  traditional  Indian,  not  the  modern  industrial, 
world.  Moksa  is  a  force  that  has  impressed  itself  on  every  fea- 
ture, every  trait  and  discipline,  of  Indian  life  and  has  shaped 


the  entire  scale  of  values.  It  is  to  be  understood,  not  as  a  refuta- 
tion, but  as  the  final  flowering,  of  the  success  of  the  successful 
man.  Briefly:  the  greater  part  of  Indian  philosophy  proper  is 
concerned  with  guiding  the  individual  during  the  second,  not 
the  first,  portion  of  his  life.  Not  before  but  after  one  has  accom- 
plished the  normal  worldly  aims  of  the  individual  career,  after 
one's  duties  have  been  served  as  a  moral  member  and  supporter 
of  the  family  and  community,  one  turns  to  the  tasks  of  the  final 
human  adventure.  According  to  the  Hindu  dharma,  a  man's 
lifetime  is  to  be  divided  into  four  strictly  differentiated  stages 
(asrama).  The  first  is  that  of  the  student,  "he  who  is  to  be 
taught"  (sisya),  "he  who  attends,  waits  upon,  and  serves  his 
guru"  (antcvasin).  The  second  is  that  of  the  householder 
(gfhastha),  which  is  the  great  period  of  a  man's  maturity  and 
enactment  of  his  due  role  in  the  world.  The  third  is  that  of  re- 
tirement to  the  forest  for  meditation  (vanaprastha).  And  the 
fourth  is  that  of  the  mendicant  wandering  sage  ibhiksu).  Moksa 
is  for  the  latter  two;  not  for  the  first  or  second. 

Crania,  "the  village,"  and  vana,  "the  forest":  these  stand  as 
opposites.  For  grama,  men  have  been  given  the  "group  of  three" 
(trivarga),  and  the  handbooks  of  the  normal  aims  and  ends  of 
worldly  life;  but  for  vana— the  forest,  the  hermitage,  the  work 
of  getting  rid  of  this  earthly  burden  of  objects,  desires,  duties, 
and  all  the  rest— a  man  will  require  the  other  disciplines,  the 
other  way,  the  other,  quite  opposite,  ideals,  techniques,  and 
experiences  of  "release."  Business,  family,  secular  life,  like  the 
beauties  and  hopes  of  youth  and  the  successes  of  maturity,  have 
now  been  left  behind;  eternity  alone  remains.  And  so  it  is  to 
that— not  to  the  tasks  and  worries  of  this  life,  already  gone, 
which  came  and  passed  like  a  dream— that  the  mind  is  turned. 
Moksa  looks  beyond  the  stars,  not  to  the  village  street.  Moksa 
is  the  practical  discipline  of  metaphysics.  Its  aim  is  not  to  estab- 
lish the  foundations  of  the  sciences,  evolve  a  valid  theory  of 
knowledge,  or  control  and  refine  methods  of  scientific  approach 


to  either  the  spectacle  of  nature  or  the  documents  of  human 
history,  but  to  rend  the  tangible  veil.  Moksa  is  a  technique  of 
transcending  the  senses  in  order  to  discover,  know,  and  dwell  at 
one  with  the  timeless  reality  which  underlies  the  dream  of  life 
in  the  world.  Nature  and  man,  in  so  far  as  they  are  visible, 
tangible,  open  to  experience,  the  sage  cognizes  and  interprets, 
but  only  to  step  through  them  to  his  ultimate  metaphysical 

On  the  other  hand,  in  the  Occident,  we  have  had  no  meta- 
physics—practical or  otherwise— since  the  middle  of  the  eight- 
eenth century.  In  diametric  contrast  to  the  dominant  Oriental 
view  of  the  insubstantiality  of  the  world  of  change  and  decay, 
our  materialistic  minds  have  developed  and  favored  an  optimistic 
view  of  evolution  and,  together  with  this,  a  fervent  faith  in  the 
perfectibility  of  human  affairs  through  better  planning,  tech- 
nology, a  wider  spread  of  education,  and  the  opening  of  oppor- 
tunities for  all.  Whereas  the  Hindu  feels  himself  to  be  utterly 
at  the  mercy  of  the  destructive  forces  of  death  (diseases,  plagues, 
warfare,  human  tyranny  and  injustice),  and  the  inevitable  vic- 
tim of  the  relentless  flow  of  time  (which  swallows  individuals, 
wipes  out  the  bloom  of  realms  and  towns,  and  crumbles  even 
the  ruins  to  dust),  we  feel  the  power  of  human  genius  to  invent 
and  organize,  the  sovereign  strength  of  man  to  achieve  collec- 
tive discipline,  and  both  the  urge  and  the  capacity  to  control 
the  moving  forces  of  nature.  We  are  the  ones  who  work  changes; 
nature  remains  ever  the  same.  And  this  nature,  conquered  by 
scientific  analysis,  can  be  compelled  to  submit  to  the  harness  of 
the  triumphant  chariot  of  our  human  advance.  Europe's  eight- 
eenth-century thinkers  believed  in  progressive  collective  en- 
lightenment: wisdom  as  a  dispellcr  of  darkness,  making  society 
perfect,  noble,  and  pure.  The  nineteenth  century  believed  in 
collective  material  and  social  progress:  the  conquest  of  nature's 
forces,  the  abolition  of  violence,  slavery,  and  injustice,  and  the 
victory  over  not  only  suffering  but  even  premature  death.  And 


now  the  twentieth  century  feels  that  only  by  intense  and  ex- 
tensive planning  and  organization  can  our  human  civilization 
hope  to  be  saved. 

The  frailty  of  human  life  docs  not  really  obsess  us,  as  it  did 
our  ancestors  in  the  fifteenth  and  sixteenth  centuries.  We  feel 
more  sheltered  than  did  they  against  vicissitudes,  better  insured 
against  setbacks;  decay  and  decline  do  not  fill  us  with  such 
despair  and  resignation.  We  believe  that  it  is  we  ourselves  who 
constitute  our  providence— as  we  all  press  onward  in  the  his- 
toric human  battle  to  dominate  the  earth  and  its  elements,  to 
control  its  mineral,  vegetable,  animal,  and  even  sub-atomic 
kingdoms.  The  secret  forces  of  existence,  the  complex  chem- 
istry and  organic  alchemy  of  the  life  process,  whether  in  our 
own  psyches  and  physiques  or  in  the  world  around,  we  are  now 
gradually  unveiling.  No  longer  do  we  feel  caught  in  the  meshes 
of  an  unconquerable  cosmic  web.  And  so,  accordingly,  we  have 
our  logic  of  science,  experimental  methods,  and  psychology, 
but  no  metaphysics. 

The  airy  flights  do  not  really  interest  us  any  more.  We  do  not 
found  our  lives  on  fascinating  or  consoling  total  interpretations 
of  life  and  the  universe,  along  lines  such  as  those  of  traditional 
theology  or  meditative  speculation;  rather,  we  have  all  these 
questions  of  detail  in  our  numerous  systematic  sciences.  Instead 
of  an  attitude  of  acceptance,  resignation,  and  contemplation, 
we  cultivate  a  life  of  relentless  movement,  causing  changes  at 
every  turn,  bettering  things,  planning  things,  subduing  to 
schedule  the  spontaneous  wild  growths  of  the  world.  In  place 
of  the  archaic  aim  of  understanding  life  and  the  cosmos  as  a 
whole,  by  means  of  general  speculation,  we  have  for  our  thought 
the  ideal  of  a  multifarious,  ever  more  refined  activity  of  highly 
specialized  understandings,  and  the  mastery  of  concrete  details. 
Religion  and  philosophy  have  become  transformed  into  science, 
technology,  and  political  economics.  Since  this  is  so,  and  since 
the  main  object  of  Indian  philosophy,  on  the  other  hand,  is 



moksa,  we  may  well  ask  whether  we  have  any  qualifications  at 
all  for  the  understanding  of  that  remote  doctrine— fixed  as  we 
are  to  our  pursuit  of  artha,  kama,  and  dharma.  and  feeling  fully 
satisfied  to  be  this  way. 

And  so  here  we  hit  upon  another  of  the  fundamental  differ- 
ences between  the  philosophies  of  the  modern  West  and  the 
traditional  Kast.  Viewed  from  the  standpoints  of  the  Hindu  and 
Buddhist  disciplines,  our  purely  intellectual  approach  to  all 
theoretical  matters  that  are  not  directly  concerned  with  the  tri- 
varga  would  seem  dilettante  and  superficial.  Through  the  course 
of  its  evolution  during  comparatively  modern  times,  Western 
thought  has  become  completely  exoteric.  It  is  supposed  to  be 
open  to  the  approach  and  accredited  investigation  of  every  in- 
tellectual who  can  meet  the  general  requirements  of  a)  a 
basic  education,  and  b)  some  specialized  intellectual  training 
to  enable  him  to  keep  up  with  the  argument.  But  this  was  not 
the  way  in  Plato's  ancient  time.  M^Sel?  dYewueT^TOg  gtofca)  eui)v 
ot£y»|v:  "Nobody  untrained  in  mathematics  may  cross  this  my 
threshold."  za  Plato  is  said  to  have  inscribed  this  warning 
above  his  door  in  homage  to  Pythagoras  and  the  contemporary 
revolutionary  mathematicians  of  Sicily— such  men  as  Archytas 
of  Tarentum;  whereas  in  modern  times,  a  high-school  education 
and  four  years  of  college  are  supposed  to  open  an  access  to  the 
sanctum  sanctorum  of  ultimate  Truth.  India,  in  this  respect,  is 
where  Plato  was;  and  that  is  another  of  the  reasons  why  the 
professors  of  the  European  and  American  universities  were 
justified  in  refusing  to  admit  Indian  thought  to  their  temple  of 

"  Tzettes,  Chiliades  8.  97J. 




Philosophy  as  a  Way  of  Life 

In  ancient  India  each  department  of  learning  was  associated 
with  a  highly  specialized  skill  and  corresponding  way  of  life. 
The  knowledge  was  not  to  be  culled  from  books  primarily,  or 
from  lectures,  discussions,  and  conversation,  but  to  be  mastered 
through  apprenticeship  to  a  competent  teacher.  It  required  the 
wholehearted  surrender  of  a  malleable  pupil  to  the  authority  of 
the  guru,  its  elementary  prerequisites  being  obedience  (suirusa) 
and  implicit  faith  (sraddhd).  Susrusa  is  the  fervent  desire  to 
hear,  to  obey,  and  to  retain  what  is  being  heard;  it  implies 
dutifulness,  reverence,  and  service.  Sraddhd  is  trust  and  com- 
posure of  mind;  it  demands  the  total  absence  of  every  kind  of 
independent  thought  and  criticism  on  the  part  of  the  pupil; 
and  here  again  there  is  reverence,  as  well  as  strong  and  vehe- 
ment desire.  The  Sanskrit  word  means  also  "the  longing  of  a 
pregnant  woman." 

The  pupil  in  whom  the  sought  truth  dwells  as  the  jungle- 
tiger  dwelt  within  the  cub  *  submits  without  reserve  to  his  guru, 

1  Supra,  pp.  5-8. 



paying  him  reverence  as  an  embodiment  of  the  divine  learning 
to  be  imparted.  For  the  teacher  is  a  mouthpiece  of  the  higher 
knowledge  and  a  master  of  the  special  skill.  The  pupil  in  his 
religious  worship  must  become  devoted  to  the  presiding  divin- 
ity of  the  department  of  skill  and  wisdom  that  is  to  be  the  in- 
forming principle,  henceforward,  of  his  career.  He  must  share 
the  household  of  the  teacher  for  years,  serve  him  in  the  home 
and  assist  him  in  his  work— whether  the  craft  be  that  of  priest, 
magician,  ascetic,  physician,  or  potter.  The  techniques  must  be 
learned  by  constant  practice,  while  the  theory  is  being  taught 
through  oral  instruction  supplemented  by  a  thoroughgoing 
study  of  the  basic  textbooks.  And  most  important  of  all,  a  psy- 
chological "transference"  between  the  master  and  pupil  has  to 
be  effected;  for  a  kind  of  transformation  is  to  be  brought  to 
pass.  The  malleable  metal  of  the  pupil  is  to  be  worked  into  the 
pattern  of  the  model  teacher,  and  this  with  respect  not  only  to 
matters  of  knowledge  and  skill  but  also,  much  more  deeply,  to 
the  whole  personal  attitude.  As  for  the  life  and  morals  of  the 
guru  himself:  it  is  required  that  there  should  be  an  identity— 
an  absolute,  point-for-point  correspondence— between  his  teach- 
ings and  his  way  of  life;  the  sort  of  identity  that  we  should  ex- 
pect to  find  in  the  West  only  in  a  monk  or  priest. 

No  criticism,  but  a  gradual  growing  into  the  mold  of  the 
discipline,  is  what  is  demanded.  The  training  is  accepted  and 
followed,  as  it  were,  blindfold;  but  in  the  course  of  time,  when 
the  pupil's  grasp  of  his  subject  increases,  understanding  comes 
of  its  own  accord.  Such  blind  acceptance  and  subsequent  intui- 
tive comprehension  of  a  truth  through  the  enactment  of  its 
corresponding  attitude  is  known  to  Europe  primarily  in  the  prac- 
tice of  the  Roman  Catholic  church.  In  one  of  the  novels,  for 
example,  of  Flaubert,  Bouvard  et  Pecucket,  the  case  is  de- 
scribed of  two  freethinkers,  disappointed  with  their  way  of 
life,  who,  following  an  attempt  at  suicide,  become  reconverted 
to  the  faith  of  their  childhood  and  early  peasant  environment. 


They  turn  to  the  priest  and  assail  him  with  unsettled  doubts 
and  skepticism,  but  he  replies  merely,  "Pratiqucz  d'abord." 
That  is  to  say:  "Take  up  and  practice  first  the  orthodox,  estab- 
lished way  of  the  ritualistic  duties— attending  mass  regularly, 
praying,  going  to  confession  and  communion.  Then  gradually 
you  will  understand,  and  your  doubts  will  vanish  like  mist  in 
sunshine.  You  need  not  fathom  the  great  depths  of  the  dogma 
of  the  Trinity,  nor  the  other  mysteries,  but  you  must  indeed 
profess  and  feel  an  implicit  faith  that  ultimately,  somehow, 
these  must  be  true.  Then  abide  with  the  hope  that  their  mean- 
ing may  dawn  upon  you  with  the  increasing  operation  within 
you  of  supernatural  grace." 

Precisely  in  this  way,  Oriental  philosophy  is  accompanied 
and  supported  by  the  practice  of  a  way  of  life— monastic  seclu- 
sion, ascetu  ism,  meditation,  prayer,  yoga-exercises,  and  daily  de- 
votional hours  of  worship.  The  function  of  the  worship  is  to 
imbue  the  devotee  with  the  divine  essence  of  the  truth;  this 
being  made  manifest  under  the  symbolic  thought-directing  forms 
of  divinities  or  other  superhuman  holy  figures,  as  well  as 
through  the  teacher  himself,  who,  standing  for  truth  incarnate, 
reveals  truth  continually,  both  through  his  teaching  and  in  his 
way  of  daily  life.  In  this  Tespect  Indian  philosophy  is  as  closely 
linked  with  religion,  sacraments,  initiations,  and  the  forms  of 
devotional  pi, -truce  as  is  our  modern  Western  philosophy  with 
the  natural  sciences  and  their  methods  of  research. 

This  Indian  view  of  the  identity  of  personality  and  conduct 
with  teaching  is  well  rendered  in  the  apt  comment  of  a  Hindu 
friend  of  mine  in  criticism  of  a  certain  popular  book  on  Orien- 
tal philosophy.  "After  all,"  said  he,  "real  attainment  is  only 
what  finds  confirmation  in  one's  own  life.  The  worth  of  a  man's 
writing  depends  on  the  degree  to  which  his  life  is  itself  an  ex- 
ample of  his  teaching." 



The  Qualified  Pupil 

The  attitude  of  the  Indian  pupil  toward  his  subject,  no  mat- 
ter what  it  may  be,  is  conveniently  illustrated  in  the  special  held 
of  orthodox  Brahman  philosophy  by  the  first  few  pages  of  a 
lit  tie  treatise  for  beginners,  dating  from  the  middle  of  the  fif- 
teendi  century  a.d.,  known  as  the  Vedantasara,  "The  Essence 
(sara)  of  the  Doctrines  of  Vedanta."  *  Of  course  one  may  read 
this  translated  text  precisely  as  one  reads  any  essay  of  Locke, 
Hume,  or  Kant;  but  it  should  be  borne  in  mind  that  the  stanzas 
were  not  intended  to  be  assimilated  this  way.  In  fact  we  arc 
warned  at  the  very  outset  by  being  confronted  with  a  discussion 
of  the  preliminary  question:  "Who  is  competent,  and  conse- 
quently entitled,  to  study  the  Vedanta  in  order  to  realize  the 
truth?"  Tlie  question  may  be  readily  answered,  so  far  as  ive 
ourselves  are  concerned:  "Not  we  Westerners.  Not  intellec- 
tuals." This  much  will  soon  be  very  clear. 

The  "competent  student"  (adhikarin),  when  approaching  the 
study  of  Vedanta,  should  feel  an  attitude  not  of  criticism  or 
curiosity,  but  of  utter  faith  (iraddha)  that  in  the  formulae  of 
Vedanta,  as  they  are  about  to  be  communicated  to  him,  he  shall 
discover  the  truth."  He  must  furthermore  be  filled  with  a  yearn- 
ing for  freedom  from  the  encumbrances  of  worldly  life,  an  earn- 
est longing  for  release  from  the  bondage  of  his  existence  as  an 
individual  caught  in  the  vortex  of  ignorance.  This  is  known  as 

2  Veddtitasdm  of  Saddnanda,  translated  with  introduction,  text,  and 
comments  by  Swami  Nikhilananda,  Mayavati,  1931.  For  "Vedanta."  see 
supra,  p.  18,  Editor's  note. 

•  Vedantasara  24. 



mumuksutva,  or  moksa-iccha:  "the  desire  for  release."*  Just 
as  a  man  carrying  on  his  head  a  load  of  wood  that  has  caught 
fire  would  go  rushing  to  a  pond  to  quench  the  flames,  even  so 
should  the  adhikarin,  scorched  with  the  mad  pains  of  the  fire  of 
life  in  the  world,  its  birth,  its  death,  its  self-deluding  futility,  go 
rushing  to  a  guru  learned  in  the  Vedas,  who,  himself  having 
reached  the  goal  of  Vedanta,  now  abides  serene  in  uninter- 
rupted consciousness  of  the  essence  of  imperishable  being.  The 
adhikarin  is  to  come  to  this  guru  bearing  presents  in  his  hand, 
ready  to  serve,  and  prepared  to  obey  in  every  way. 

"The  competent  student  is  an  aspirant,  who,  through  hav- 
ing studied  in  accordance  with  the  prescribed  method  the  Four 
Vedas  and  their  'limbs'  (veddnga),*  has  already  a  general  com- 
prehension of  Vedic  lore.  He  must  also  have  already  been 
cleansed  of  all  sins  clinging  to  him  from  either  this  or  previous 
existences,  through  having  abstained  from  all  rituals  for  the 
fulfillment  of  worldly  desires  and  the  causing  of  injury  to 
others,  while  performing  faithfully  the  orthodox  daily  devo- 
tions and  the  special  obligatory  rites  for  such  occasions  as  the 
birth  of  a  child.  He  must,  moreover,  have  practiced  the  special 
austerities  that  conduce  to  the  expiation  of  sin,8  and  all  of  the 
usual  orthodox  meditations  designed  to  conduce  to  the  con- 
centration of  the  mind.7  Whereas  the  daily,  special,  and  peni- 


B  Auxiliary  textbooks  on  phonetics,  rituals,  grammar,  etymology,  pros- 
ody, and  astronomy. 

6  Viz.  reducing  the  diet  gradually  with  the  waning  of  the  moon,  until, 
at  the  night  of  no  moon,  no  food  is  eaten;  then  increasing  the  quantity 
by  a  fourteenth  each  day,  until,  at  full  moon,  the  normal  diet  is  again 
attained  (cdndrdyana).  Such  austerities  are  described  in  the  "Laws  of 
Manu";  Mdnava  DharmaSastra  11.217. 

1  Exercises  of  meditation  on  the  worshiper's  special  tutelary  divinity 

(iffadevata),  which  is  an  "aspect-providcd-with-qualities"  (sa-guna)  of  the 

highest  essence   (brahman).   Brahman   in   itself   is  absolutely   devoid   of 

qualifications  (nir-guna),  and  consequently  beyond  the  reach  of  the  powers 



tential  "rites"  above  described  are  tor  the  mind's  purification, 
the  "meditations"  are  intended  to  bring  it  to  a  state  of  "single- 
pointedness."  * 

According  to  the  traditional  belief,  the  fulfillment  of  these 
prescribed  rites  and  devotions  will  bring  the  devotee  after  death 
to  either  the  "heaven  of  the  ancestors"  (pitr-loka)  or  the  higher 
"sphere  of  truth"  (satya-loka).  But  such  pleasurable  results  arc 
not  regarded  by  the  adept  of  Vedanta  as  important  or  even  de- 
sirable; they  arc  the  mere  by-products  of  the  discipline,  stop- 
ping-stations along  the  way,  in  which  lie  is  no  longer  interested. 
They  are  still  within  the  worlds  of  birth,  and  represent  no 
more  than  a  continuance  of  the  round  of  being  (samsara), 
though  indeed  an  extremely  blissful  episode  of  the  round,  en- 
during, it  is  said,  for  innumerable  millenniums.  Rather  than 
the  beatitudes  of  heaven,  what  the  Vedantist  desires  is  to  see 
through  and  past  the  illusory  character  of  all  existence  what 
soever,  no  less  that  of  the  higher  spheres  than  that  of  the  gross 
terrestrial  plane.  He  has  sacrificed  completely  all  thought  of  the 
enjoyment  of  the  fruits  of  his  good  deeds;  any  rewards  that  may 
be  accruing  to  him  as  a  result  of  his  perfect  devotion  he  sur- 
renders to  the  personal  divinity  that  he  serves.  For  he  knows 
that  it  is  not  himself  who  acts,  but  the  Spiritual  Person  dwelling 
omnipresent  within  himself  and  all  things,  and  to  whom  he, 
as  worshiper,  is  devoted  utterly— the  God  who  is  the  Self  {atman) 
within  his  heart. 

The  necessary  means  for  the  transcending  of  illusion  which 
the  student  must  be  competent  to  bring  to  bear  arc,  first  of  all, 
"discrimination  between  the  permanent  and  things  transient" 

of  the  normal  human  mind.  The  various  Uiadevalas,  images  and  personi- 
fications, consequently,  are  only  preliminary  helps,  guides,  or  accommoda- 
tions, which  serve  to  prepare  the  spirit  of  the  worshiper  for  its  final,  form- 
transcending  realization. 
8  Vedanlasara  6-13. 



(nitya-anitya-vastu-viveka).0  "Brahman  alone,"  we  read,  "is  the 
permanent  substance,  everything  else  is  transient."  10  All  ob- 
jects in  this  world  that  are  pleasant  to  the  senses,  garlands  of 
flowers,  perfumes,  beautiful  women,  gratifications  of  every 
kind,  arc  merely  transient;  they  come  as  the  result  of  our  actions 
(karma).  But  the  pleasures  of  the  next  world  loo  are  non-clernal 
and  the  mere  result  of  acts. 

An  unwavering  disregard  for  nil  such  illusoriness,  once  it  has 
been  recognized  as  such,  is  the  second  requisite  of  the  student 
of  Vedanta.  He  must  renounce,  sincerely  and  efficaciously,  every 
possible  fruit  of  his  virtuous  acts.  This  is  true  renunciation: 
ihamutrarthaphalabhogaviragah,  "indifference  (viragafy)  to  the 
enjoyment  (bhoga)  of  the  fruits  (j>hala)  of  action  (ariha)  whether 
here  (Uia)  or  in  the  world  to  come  (amutra)."  n 

The  third  of  the  necessary  means  is  concentration,  and  this 
is  discussed  under  the  heading  of  "The  Six  Treasures,"  the  first 
of  which  is  sama,  "mental  quietness,  pacification  of  the  pas- 
sions." '-  Sama  is  the  attitude,  or  mode  of  behavior,  that  keeps 
the  mind  from  being  troubled  by  sense  objects— the  only  sense 
activity  permitted  to  the  student  of  philosophy  being  that  of 
listening  eagerly  to  the  words  of  his  guru.  The  second  treasure, 
dama,  stands  for  a  second  stage  of  self-restraint,  "the  subjuga- 


« lb.  16. 

11 J  b.  17. 

Renunciation  of  the  fruits,  of  action  is  the  basic  formula  of  Karma 
Yoga,  the  way  of  icleasc  through  action,  which  has  received  its  classic 
statement  in  Rhagavad  (ilia  3.  All  actions  are  to  be  performed  as  per- 
taining to  one's  duly  (dltarma),  enacted  as  the  role  of  an  actor  on  the 
stage  of  life.  They  belong  to  the  play  (titd),  not  to  the  actor's  real  Self 
(ntman).  "Therefore  always  do  without  attachment  the  work  you  have  to 
do;  for  a  man  who  does  his  woik  without  attachment  attains  the  supreme" 
(Bhagavad  Gtta  3.  19).  Cf.  injra,  pp.  386-389. 

12  Vedantasdia  18-19. 



tion  of  the  senses."  ls  According  to  the  classical  Hindu  science  of 
the  mind,  man  has  five  perceiving  faculties  (hearing,  touch,  sight, 
taste,  smell),  five  acting  faculties  (speech,  grasping,  locomotion, 
evacuation,  generation),  and  a  controlling  "inner  organ"  (antah- 
harana)  which  is  made  manifest  as  ego  (ahankara),  memory 
(ciltam),  understanding  (buddhi),  and  cogitation  (mantis)." 
Dama  refers  to  the  decisive  turning  away  of  this  entire  system 
from  the  outer  world.  The  next  treasure,  nparali,  is  "complete 
cessation"  of  the  activity  of  the  perceiving  and  acting  sense- 
faculties.15  The  fourth,  titiksa,  "endurance,  patience."  repre- 
sents the  power  to  endure  without  the  slightest  discomposure 
extremes  of  heat  and  cold,  weal  and  woe,  honor  and  abuse,  loss 
and  gain,  and  of  all  the  other  "pairs  of  opposites"  (dvandva).16 
The  pupil  is  now  in  a  position  to  bring  his  mind  past  the  dis- 
tractions of  the  world.  The  fifth  of  the  treasures,  therefore,  be- 
comes now  attainable:  samfidhdna,  "constant  concentration  of 
the  mind."  The  pupil  is  able  to  keep  his  attention  fixed  on  the 
teachings  of  the  guru,  and  can  dwell  without  interruption  on 
the  holy  texts,  or  on  the  symbols  and  ineffable  themes  of  his 
intense  meditations."  Sam-a-dha  means  "to  put  together,  unite, 
compose,  collect;  to  concentrate,  to  fix,  to  apply  intently  (as  the 
eye  or  the  mind)."  Samadhana  is  the  state  attained  as  well  as 
the  activity  itself.  It  is  a  fixing  of  the  mind  on  something 
in  absolutely  undisturbed— and  undisturbable— contemplation: 
"deep  meditation,  steadiness,  composure,  peace  of  mind,  perfect 
absorption  of  all  thought  in  the  one  object."  After  this  the  sixth 
treasure  can  be  achieved,  which  is  perfect  faith.18 
Discrimination,   renunciation,   the   "six   treasures,"   and  a 

« lb.  20. 

"  These  are  discussed  infra,  pp.  314-332. 

"  Vedantasara  21. 

"lb.  22. 

"  lb.  23. 

18  lb.  23;  for  faith  (sraddte),  d.  supra,  pp.  48-50. 



yearning  for  release  (mumuksutva),1'  are  the  very  means  by 
which  the  Indian  philosopher  comes  to  his  goal  of  understand- 
ing. The  neophyte  must  be  competent  to  command  them.  His 
heart  and  mind  must  already  have  been  cleansed  by  the  pre- 
liminary rituals  and  austerities  of  the  orthodox  religious  prac- 
tices of  his  community.  He  must  be  sufficiently  trained  in  the 
Holy  Scriptures.  And  he  must  then  be  able  to  bring  himself  to 
gain  possession  of  these  "necessary  means"  for  the  transcending 
of  illusion.  "Such  an  aspirant,"  we  read,  "is  a  qualified  stu- 
dent." * 

Philosophy  as  Power 

In  the  Orient,  philosophic  wisdom  does  not  come  under  the 
head  of  general  information.  It  is  a  specialized  learning  di- 
rected to  the  attainment  of  a  higher  state  of  being.  The  philos- 
opher is  one  whose  nature  has  been  transformed,  re-formed  to 
a  pattern  of  really  superhuman  stature,  as  a  result  of  being 
pervaded  by  the  magic  power  of  truth.  That  is  why  the  pro- 
spective pupil  must  be  carefully  tested.  The  word  adhikarin 
means,  literally,  as  adjective,  "entitled  to,  having  a  right  to,  pos- 
sessed of  authority,  possessed  of  power,  qualified,  authorized,  fit 
for";  also,  "belonging  to,  owned  by";  and  as  noun,  "an  officer,  a 
functionary,  head,  director,  rightful  claimant,  master,  owner,  a 
personage  qualified  to  perform  some  sacrifice  or  holy  work." 

Philosophy  is  but  one  of  many  kinds  of  wisdom  or  knowl- 

I&  Supra,  pp.  51-52. 
3,1  Vedanlasara  26. 



edge  (vidya),  each  leading  to  some  practical  end.  As  the  other 
vidyas  lead  to  such  attainments  as  belong  to  the  special  mas- 
terships of  the  craftsman,  priest,  magician,  poet,  or  dancer,  so 
philosophy  ends  in  the  attainment  of  a  divine  state  both  here 
and  hereafter.  Every  kind  of  wisdom  brings  to  its  possessor  its 
specific  power,  and  this  comes  inevitably  in  consequence  of  the 
mastery  of  the  respective  materials.  The  doctor  is  the  master  of 
diseases  and  drugs,  the  carpenter  the  master  of  wood  and  other 
building  materials,  the  priest  of  demons  and  even  of  gods  by 
virtue  of  his  charms,  incantations,  and  rituals  of  offering  and 
propitiation.  Correspondingly,  the  yogi-philosopher  is  the  mas- 
ter of  his  own  mind  and  body,  his  passions,  his  reactions,  and 
his  meditations.  He  is  one  who  has  transcended  the  illusions  of 
wishful  thinking  and  of  all  other  kinds  of  normal  human 
thought.  He  feels  no  challenge  or  defeat  in  misfortune.  He  is 
absolutely  beyond  the  touch  of  destiny. 

Wisdom,  in  the  Orient,  no  matter  what  its  kind,  is  to  be 
guarded  jealously  and  communicated  sparingly,  and  then  only 
to  one  capable  of  becoming  its  perfect  receptacle;  for  besides 
representing  a  certain  skill,  every  department  of  learning  carries 
with  it  a  power  that  can  amount  almost  to  magic,  a  power  to 
bring  to  pass  what  without  it  would  seem  a  miracle.  Teaching 
not  intended  to  communicate  such  a  power  is  simply  of  no 
consequence,  and  the  communication  to  one  unfit  to  wield  the 
power  properly  would  be  disastrous.  Furthermore,  the  posses- 
sion of  the  wisdom  and  its  special  potencies  was  in  ancient 
times  regarded  as  one  of  the  most  valuable  portions  of  the 
family  heritage.  Like  a  treasure,  it  was  handed  down  with  all 
care,  according  to  the  patrilineal  order  of  descent.  Charms, 
spells,  the  techniques  of  the  various  crafts  and  professions,  and, 
finally,  philosophy  itself  originally  were  communicated  only  in 
this  way.  Son  followed  father.  For  the  growing  generation  there 
was  little  leniency  of  choice.  This  is  how  the  instruments  of 
family  prestige  were  kept  from  slipping  away. 


And  so  it  is  that  the  Vedic  hymns  originally  belonged  exclu- 
sively to  certain  great  family  lines.  Of  the  ten  books  of  the 
Rg-vcda  (which  is  the  oldest  of  the  Vedas  and  indeed  the  oldest 
extant  document  of  any  of  the  Indo-European  traditions) !1 
the  second  and  those  following  it  are  the  so-called  "Family 
Books."  They  contain  groups  of  potent  verses  which  formerly 
were  the  guarded  property  of  the  ancient  families  of  priests, 
seeis,  and  holy  singers.  The  ancestors  of  the  various  clans  com- 
posed the  stanzas  in  order  to  conjure  gods  to  the  sacrifice,  propi- 
tiate them,  and  win  their  favor— the  hymns  having  been  re- 
vealed to  those  ancestral  singers  during  their  intercourse  (in 
vision)  with  the  gods  themselves.  The  owners  then  occasionally 
marked  their  properly,  either  by  letting  their  names  appear 
somewhere  in  the  verses  or,  as  was  more  frequently  the  case,  by 
a  characteristic  closing  stanza,  which  would  be  generally  recog- 
nized as  an  earmark.  Just  as  the  ranging  herds  of  the  cattle- 
breeding  Aryan  families  in  Vedic  times  were  distinguished  by 
some  brand  or  cut  on  the  car,  flank,  or  elsewhere,  so  likewise 
the  hymns— and  with  the  same  aristocratic  sense  of  the  force, 
and  consequent  preciousness,  of  property. 

For  if  the  wisdom  that  produces  a  special  art  and  mastery  is 
to  be  guarded  jealously,  then  the  higher  the  powers  involved 
the  more  careful  the  guardianship  must  be— and  this  particu- 
larly when  the  powers  are  the  gods  themselves,  the  moving 
forces  of  nature  and  the  cosmos.  Cautious,  complex  rituals 
designed  to  conjure  them  and  link  them  to  human  purposes 
occupied  in  Vedic  (as  also  in  Homeric)  antiquity  precisely  the 
place  held  today  by  such  sciences  as  physics,  chemistry,  medi- 
cine, and  bacteriology.  A  potent  hymn  was  as  precious  for  those 
people  as  the  secret  of  a  new  super-bomber  is  for  us,  or  the 
blueprint  of  the  latest  device  for  a  submarine.  Such  things  were 
valuable  not  only  for  the  art  of  war  but  also  for  the  commercial 
competition  of  the  times  of  peace. 

"  Cf.  supra,  p.  8,  Editor's  note. 



The  early  as  well  as  later  history  of  India  was  characterized 
by  a  state  of  practically  continuous  battle,  invasions  from  with- 
out as  well  as  strife  for  supremacy  among  the  feudal  barons  and 
the  later  kingly  despots.  In  ilic  midst  of  all  this  tuimoil  the 
religious  formulae  of  the  Vedic  Brahmans  were  regarded  and 
utilized  as  a  most  precious  secret  weapon— comparable  to  that 
of  the  tribes  of  Israel,  when  they  enteud  Canaan  under  their 
chieftain  Joshua  and  destroyed  the  walls  of  Jericho  with  a  magic 
blast  of  their  ram's  horns.  It  was  because  of  superior  wisdom 
that  the  Aryan  invaders  of  India  were  able  to  dclcat  the  native 
prc-Aryan  populations,  maintain  ihemsehes  in  the  land,  and 
ultimately  spread  their  dominion  over  the  sub-continent.  The 
conquered  iaces  then  were  classified  as  the  lourth,  non-Ar\an, 
caste  of  the  Sudra,  excluded  ruthlessly  fioin  the  righls  and 
power-giving  wisdom  of  the  society  of  the  conquerors,  and  for- 
bidden to  acquire  even  an  inkling  of  the  techniques  o(  the 
Vedic  religion.  We  read  in  the  early  Dharmasaitras  that  if  a 
Sudra  chances  to  overhear  the  rccitalion  of  a  Vedic  hymn,  he  is 
to  be  punished  by  having  his  ears  tilled  with  molten  let:d.-M 
Those  sacred  formulae  were  for  the  Biahmans  (the  priests, 
wizards,  and  guatdians  oi  sacred  powei),  the  Ksatriyas  (kings, 
feudal  chieftains,  and  warriors),  and  the  Vaisyas  (peasants, 
craftsmen,  and  burghers  of  Aryan  lineage)— and  for  them  alone. 

This  pattern  of  archaic  secrecy  and  exclusion  has  maintained 
itself  through  all  the  periods  and  in  all  departments  of  Indian 
life.  It  is  characteristic  of  most  of  the  sacred  traditions  from 
which  the  greater  part  of  the  elements  of  Indian  philosophy 
have  been  dcri\ ed— particularly  those  of  Aryan  origin,  but  also, 
in  many  important  details,  even  those  outside  the  pale  of  At  van- 
Brahman  control.  The  non-Vedic  traditions— Buddhism.  Jain- 
ism,  Saiikhya,  and  Yoga— lack  the  caste  and  familial  resuictions 

22  Gautama,  Institute*  of  the  Sacred  Law  12-4.  (Sacred  Books  of  the  East, 
Vol.  II,  Part  I,  p.  236.) 



peculiar  to  the  Vedic  lines;  23  nevertheless  they  demand  of  any- 
one who  would  approach  their  mysteries  such  an  utter  surren- 
der to  the  authority  of  tiie  spiritual  teacher  that  any  return  to 
the  former  held  of  life  is  rendered  impossible.  Before  a  student 
of  one  of  these  non-Aryan  Indian  disciplines  can  enter  the  inner 
temple  and  really  attain  the  goal  of  the  doctrine,  he  must  put  off 
entirely  his  inherited  family,  with  all  of  its  ways  of  life,  and 
become  reborn  as  a  member  of  the  order. 

""Editor's  note:  Like  Buddhism  (cf.  supra,  p.  18,  Editor's  note),  Jainism, 
Sankhya,  and  Yoga  do  not  accept  the  authority  of  the  Vcdas,  and  are 
therefore  reckoned  as  heterodox,  i.e.,  doctrines  outside  of  the  orthodox 
Brahman  tradition  of  the  Vedas,  Upanisads,  and  Vedanta.  It  was  Dr. 
Zimmer's  contention  that  these  heterodox  systems  represent  the  thinking 
of  the  non-Arjan  peoples  of  India,  who  ueie  overcome  and  despised  by 
the  Brahmans,  but  nevertheless  could  boast  of  extremely  subtle  traditions 
of  their  own. 

Dr.  Zimmer  regarded  Jainism  as  the  oldest  of  the  non-Aryan  group,  in 
contrast  to  most  Occidental  authorities,  who  consider  Mahavira,  a  con- 
temporary of  the  Buddha,  to  have  been  its  founder  instead  of,  as  the 
Jainas  themselves  (and  Dr.  Zimmer)  claim,  only  the  last  of  a  long  line  of 
Jaina  teachers.  Dr.  Zimmer  believed  that  there  is  truth  En  the  Jaina  idea 
that  their  religion  goes  back  to  a  remote  antiquity,  the  antiquity  in  ques- 
tion being  that  of  the  prc-Aryan,  so-called  Dravidian  period,  which  has 
recently  been  dramatically  illuminated  by  the  discovery  of  a  scries  of 
great  Late  Stone  Age  cities  in  the  Indus  Valley,  dating  from  the  third  and 
perhaps  even  fourth  millennium  B.C.  (rf.  Ernest  Mackay,  The  Indus 
Civilization,  London,  1935;  also  Zimmer,  Myths  and  Symboh  in  Indian  Art 
and  Civilization,  pp.  93ft.). 

Sahkhya  and  Yoga  represented  a  later,  psychological  sophistication  of 
the  principles  preserved  in  Jainism,  and  prepared  the  ground  for  the 
forceful,  anti-Brahman  statement  of  the  Buddha.  Sankhya  and  Yoga  be- 
long together,  as  the  theory  and  the  practice  of  a  single  philosophy. 
Kapila,  the  reputed  founder  of  Sahkhya  (cf.  infra,  pp.  28 1  f).  may  have  been 
a  contemporary  of  the  Upanisadic  thinkers,  and  seems  to  have  given  his 
name  to  the  city  in  which  the  Buddha  was  born.  Kapilavastu. 

In  general,  the  non-Aryan,  heterodox  philosophies  are  not  exclusive  in 
the  same  sense  that  the  Brahman  philosophies  are;  for  they  are  not 
reserved  to  members  of  the  three  upper  castes. 



The  main  ideas  of  the  Brahman  secret  doctrine,  as  devel- 
oped and  formulated  at  the  end  of  the  Vcdic  period  (c.  eighth 
century  B.C.),  are  preserved  in  the  Upanisads.  These  represent 
a  sort  of  highly  specialized  post-postgraduate  training  which 
the  teacher  was  free  either  to  impart  or  to  withhold.  The  pupil 
had  to  be  truly  an  adhikarin  to  receive  such  esoteric  lore,  truly 
mature  and  perfectly  fit  to  bear  the  revealed  wisdom.  In  the  pe- 
riod when  the  books  were  first  conceived  the  restrictions  im- 
posed were  even  more  severe  than  they  came  to  be  in  the  later 
ages.  One  of  the  main  Upanisads  contains  the  warning  that  its 
teaching  is  to  be  handed  down,  not  simply  from  father  to  son, 
but  only  to  the  eldest  son,  which  is  to  say,  to  the  father's  youth- 
ful double,  his  reborn  alter  ego,  "but  to  no  one  else,  whoever 
he  may  be."  'H  And  in  the  somewhat  later  stratification  of  the 
metrical  Upanisads  we  read:  "This  most  mysterious  secret  shall 
be  imparted  to  none  who  is  not  a  son  or  a  pupil,  and  who  has 
not  yet  attained  tranquility."  -5  It  must  be  borne  in  mind  that 
the  equivalent  term  by  which  the  word  upanisad  is  everywhere 
described  is  rahasyam,  "  a  secret,  a  mystery."  For  this  is  a  hid- 
den, secret  doctrine  that  discloses  satyasya  satyam,  "the  truth  of 

This  same  ancient  character  of  secrecy,  aloofness,  and  ex- 
clusion is  preserved  in  the  works  even  of  the  most  recent  great 
period  of  Hindu  philosophy  and  teaching,  namely  that  of  the 
Tantras.  These  represent  a  development  of  the  medieval  pe- 
riod, the  Tantric  literature  in  its  present  form  belonging  mainly 
to  the  centuries  following  300  a.d.26  The  texts,  generally,  are 

24  Chdndogya  Upanisad  3.  11.  5-6.  Compare  Brhaddranyaka  Upanisad  6. 
J.  is. 

25  MaHri  Upanisad  6.  20.  Compare  SvetdSvatara  Upanisad  6.  22. 
"Editor's   note:   The   orthodox   sacred    books   (Sdstras)   of  India   are 

classed  in  four  categories:  1.  Sruti  ("what  is  heard"),  the  Vedas  and  certain 
Upanisads.  which  are  regarded  as  direct  revelation;  2.  Smrti  ("what  is 
remembered"),  the  teachings  of  the  ancient  saints  and  sages,  also  law 
books  (dhartnasulras)  and  works  dealing  with  household  ceremonies  and 


supposed  to  represent  secret  conversations  held  between  Siva, 
the  supreme  God,  and  his  sakti  or  spouse,  the  supreme  God- 
dess; first  one  listening  as  pupil,  then  the  other;  each  hearkening 
with  all  attention  as  the  truth  of  the  world-creating,  -preserving. 
and  -guiding  secret  essence  of  the  other  is  made  known  in 
mighty  verses;  each  teaching  the  way  to  break  the  spell  of  mis- 
knowing  that  holds  individual  consciousness  bound  to  phe- 
nomenality.  The  Tantric  texts  insist  on  the  secret  character  ol 
their  contents,  and  are  not  to  be  made  known  to  unbelievers  or 

minor  sacrifices  (grhyasuiras);  $.  Purdna  ("ancient;  aiuicnt  lore"),  com- 
pendious anthologies,  comparable  in  character  to  the  lliblc,  containing 
cosmogonic  myths,  ancient  legends,  theological,  astronomical,  and  nature 
loic;  \.  Tantra  ("loom,  warp,  system,  ritual,  doctrine"),  a  body  ol  com- 
paratively recent  texts,  regarded  as  directly  revealed  by  Siva  to  be  the 
specific  scripture  of  the  Kali  Yuga,  the  fourth  or  present  age  ot  the  world. 
The  Tantras  are  called  "The  Fifth  Veda,"  and  their  rituals  and  concepts 
ha\e  actually  supplanted  the  now  quite  archaic  Vedic  system  of  sacrifice 
as  the  supporting  warp  of  Indian  life. 

Typical  of  the  Tantric  system  is  the  concept  of  sakti:  the  female  as  the 
projected  "energy"  (iakti)  of  the  male  (compare  the  Biblical  metaphor  of 
Eve  as  Adam's  rib).  Male  and  female,  God  and  Goddess,  arc  the  polar 
manifestations  (passive  and  active,  respectively)  of  a  single  transcendent 
principle  and,  as  such,  in  essence  one,  though  in  appearance  two.  The 
male  is  identified  with  eternity,  the  female  with  time,  and  their  embrace 
with  the  mystery  of  creation. 

The  cult  of  Sakti,  the  Goddess,  plays  an  immense  role  in  modem 
Hinduism,  in  contrast  to  the  patriarchal  emphasis  of  the  Vedic,  strictly 
Aryan  tradition,  and  suggests  that  the  Tantra  may  have  its  roots  in  the 
non-Aryan,  prc-Aryan,  Dravidian  soil  (cf.  supra,  p.  60,  Editor's  note). 
Noteworthy  is  the  fact  that  Siva,  the  Universal  God,  and  consort  of  the 
Goddess  (standing  to  her  as  Eternity  to  Time),  is  also  the  supreme  Lord 
of  Yoga—which  is  a  non-Vedic  discipline  (cf.  supra,  loc.  cit).  Caste,  more- 
over, is  not  a  prerequisite  to  Tantric  initiation.  Dr.  Zimmer  suggests 
(infra,  pp.  601-602)  that  the  Tantric  tradition  represents  a  creative  syn- 
thesis of  the  Aryan  and  native  Indian  philosophies.  It  has  exercised  a 
prodigious  influence  on  Mahayana  Buddhism.  Furthermore,  its  profound 
psychological  insight  and  bold  spiritual  techniques  give  it  a  peculiar 
interest  to  the  modern  analytical  psychologist. 


even  to  believers  who  are  uninitiated  into  the  innermost  circles 
of  the  adept. 

In  the  West,  on  the  other  hand,  the  pride  o£  philosophy  is 
that  it  is  open  to  the  understanding  and  criticism  of  all.  Our 
thought  is  exoteric,  and  that  is  regarded  as  one  of  the  signs  and 
proofs  of  its  universal  validity.  Western  philosophy  has  no  secret 
doctrine,  but  challenges  all  to  scrutinize  her  arguments,  de- 
manding no  more  than  intelligence  and  an  open-minded  fair- 
ness in  discussion.  By  this  general  appeal  she  has  won  her 
ascendency  over  the  wisdom  and  teaching  of  the  Church— which 
required  that  certain  things  should  be  taken  for  granted  as  once 
and  for  all  established  by  divine  revelation,  and  unquestionably 
settled  by  the  interpretations  of  the  inspired  fathers,  popes,  and 
councils.  Our  popular  modern  philosophy,  sailing  in  the  broad 
wake  of  the  natural  sciences,  recognizes  no  other  authority  than 
proof  by  experiment  and  pretends  to  rest  upon  no  other  assump- 
tions than  those  rationally  drawn  as  the  logical  theoretical  re- 
sult of  critically  and  methodically  digested  data  derived  through 
sense-experience,  registered  and  controlled  by  the  mind  and 
the  faultless  apparatus  of  the  laboratories. 

I  wonder  to  what  extent  we  feel  in  our  civilization  that  the 
man  who  takes  up  the  profession  of  the  philosopher  becomes 
mysteriously  powerful.  The  business  people  controlling  our  eco- 
nomics, social  life,  internal  politics,  and  foreign  affairs  generally 
feel  suspicious  of  philosophers.  Absorbed  with  lofty  notions  not 
easily  applicable  to  current  emergencies,  the  "professors"  tend 
only  to  complicate  issues  with  their  abstract  approach— and  be- 
sides, they  are  not  conspicuously  fortunate  themselves  as  bread- 
winners or  practical  managers.  Plato,  we  know,  once  tried  his 
hand  at  government.  He  attempted  to  assist  a  tyrant  of  Sicily 
who  had  invited  him  to  come  and  establish  a  model  government 
along  the  highest  philosophic  lines.  But  the  two  soon  quarreled, 
and  the  tyrant  ended  by  arresting  the  philosopher,  offering  him 
for  sale  in  the  slave-market  of  the  very  capital  that  was  to  have 


been  the  birthplace  of  a  golden  age  and  the  model  city  of  a 
righteous  order,  highly  philosophical  and  representative  of  a 
definitely  satisfactory  state  of  human  affairs.  Plato  was  bought 
immediately  by  a  friend  who  set  him  free,  and  returned  to  his 
homeland— liberal,  democratic  Athens,  whose  corrupt,  mud- 
dling government  had  always  utterly  disgusted  him.  There  he 
availed  himself  of  the  one  escape  and  consolation  that  is  always 
open  to  the  intellectual.  He  wrote  a  book,  his  immortal 
Republic,  which  was  to  be  followed  later  by  the  Laws.  Through 
these,  the  apparently  powerless,  stranded  philosopher  made 
his  impression— secret  at  the  time,  yet  in  every  sense  immeas- 
urable—on the  centuries,  indeed  on  the  millenniums,  yet  to 

Or  again:  when  Hegel  suddenly  died  of  the  cholera  in  1831 
his  philosophy  publicly  collapsed;  and  it  was  ridiculed  for  the 
next  eight  decades  by  the  philosophy  professors  of  his  country. 
In  his  own  University  of  Berlin,  as  late  as  1911  when  I  was  a 
student  there  sitting  at  the  feet  of  his  fourth  successor,  Alois 
Riehl— a  noble-minded,  charming  man,  ranking  supreme  among 
the  interpreters  of  Hume's  and  Kant's  theories  of  the  criticism 
of  human  understanding— we  had  to  listen  to  a  series  of  mere 
jokes  the  moment  the  professor  embarked  on  a  review  of 
Hegel's  philosophy.  And  yet,  that  same  Hegel  was  on  the  point 
of  being  rediscovered  by  my  own  generation— following  the  in- 
spiring leadership  of  old  Wilhclm  Dilthey,  who  had  just  re- 
signed his  chair  to  Riehl  and  retired  from  teaching.  The  Neo- 
Hegelians  sprang  into  existence,  and  the  philosopher  won  the 
official,  academic  recognition  that  was  his  due. 

But  meanwhile,  outside  the  universities,  outside  the  channels 
of  official  doctrine,  Hegel's  ideas  had  been  exerting  an  influence 
on  the  course  of  world  events,  beside  which  the  importance  of 
the  academic  seal  of  approval  dwindles  to  nothingness.  Even 
the  faithful  Hegelianism  of  G.  J.  P.  J.  Bolland  and  his  followers, 
in  the  Netherlands,  which  continued  and  developed  after  the 



philosopher's  reputation  had  collapsed  in  Germany,  and  the  He- 
gelian tradition  in  southern  Italy,  which  culminated  in  the  work 
of  Benedetto  Croce,  seem  insignificant  in  comparison  with  the 
weight  of  Hegel's  influence  on  modern  world  affairs.  For  Hegel's 
system  was  the  inspiration  of  Karl  Marx;  his  dialectical  thinking 
inspired  the  political  and  psychological  strategy  of  Lenin.  Also, 
his  thinking  was  the  inspiration  of  Pareto,  the  intellectual 
father  of  Fascism.  Thus  the  practical  impact  of  Hegel's  ideas 
upon  the  non-democratic  powers  of  Europe— and  that  means, 
of  course,  on  the  affairs  of  the  whole  modern  world— is  perhaps 
second  to  none.  At  the  present  moment  it  is  comparable  in 
magnitude  to  the  power  of  the  lasting  authority  of  the  phi- 
losophy of  Confucius  in  China— which  shaped  the  history  of 
that  land  from  the  third  century  B.C.  to  the  revolution  of  Sun 
Yat-sen;  or  to  the  force  of  Aristotle's  thought  in  the  Middle 
Ages  and  (by  virtue  of  the  influence  of  the  Jesuits)  in  modern 
times.  Though  philosophers,  to  their  neighbors,  almost  in- 
variably seem  to  be  harmless  stay-at-homes,  unaggressive,  per- 
haps even  shipwrecked  academic  teachers,  despicable  to  the 
hard-headed  man  of  action— sometimes  they  are  far  from  being 
so.  Ghostlike,  rather,  and  invisible,  they  are  leading  the  bat- 
talions and  nations  of  the  future  on  battlefields  of  revolution, 
soaked  with  blood. 

India,  dreamy  India,  philosophical,  unpractical,  and  hope- 
lessly unsuccessful  in  the  maintenance  of  her  political  freedom, 
has  always  stood  for  the  idea  that  wisdom  can  be  power  if  (and 
this  is  an  "if"  that  must  be  kept  in  mind)  the  wisdom  permeates, 
transforms,  controls,  and  molds  the  whole  of  the  personality. 
The  sage  is  not  to  be  a  library  of  philosophy  stalking  about 
on  two  legs,  an  encyclopedia  witii  a  human  voice.  Thought  it- 
self is  to  be  converted  in  him  into  life,  into  flesh,  into  being, 
into  a  skill  in  act.  And  then  the  higher  his  realization,  the 
greater  will  be  his  power.  The  magic  of  Mahatma  Gandhi  is 
to  be  understood,  for  example,  in  this  way.  The  force  of  his 


model  presence  on  the  Hindu  masses  derives  from  the  fact  that 
in  him  is  expressed  an  identity  of  ascetic  wisdom  (as  a  style  of 
existence)  with  politics  (as  an  effective  attitude  toward  worldly 
issues,  whether  of  daily  life  or  of  national  policy).  His  spiritual 
stature  is  expressed  and  honored  in  the  title  bestowed  upon 
him:  Mahatma:  "whose  essence  of  being  is  great,"  "he  in  whom 
the  supra-personal,  supra-individual,  divine  essence,  which  per- 
vades the  whole  universe  and  dwells  within  the  microcosm  of 
the  human  heart  as  the  animating  grace  of  God  (atmart),  has 
grown  to  such  magnitude  as  to  have  become  utterly  predomi- 
nant (makat)."  The  Spiritual  Person  has  swallowed  and  dis- 
solved in  him  all  traces  of  ego,  all  the  limitations  proper  to  per- 
sonal individuation,  all  those  limiting,  fettering  qualities  and 
propensities  that  belong  to  the  normal  human  state,  and  even 
every  trace  remaining  from  ego-motivated  deeds  (karma), 
whether  good  or  evil,  whether  derived  from  this  life  or  from 
deeds  in  former  births.  Such  traces  of  personality  bias  and  dis- 
tort a  man's  outlook  on  worldly  affairs  and  prevent  his  ap- 
proach to  divine  truth.  But  the  Mahatma  is  the  man  who  has 
become  transformed  in  his  being  through  wisdom;  and  the 
power  of  such  a  presence  to  work  magic  we  may  yet  live  to 

''The  Dying  round  the  Holy  Power' 

The  sage  is  both  worshiped  and  feared  because  of  the  mirac- 
ulous soul-force  that  he  radiates  into  the  world.  A  man  of 
27  Editor's  note:  This  lecture  was  delivered  in  1942. 


learning  who  has  transformed  himself  through  wisdom  is  more 
like  a  primitive  medi<  hit*  man  than  like  the  usual  Doctor  of 
Philosophy;  or  like  a  Vedic  priest  or  sorcerer-magician.  Or 
again,  he  is  like  an  Indian  ascetic  who  through  self-inflicted 
austerities  has  overcome  his  human  limits  and  acquired  such 
powers  that  even  the  gods  governing  the  lotces  and  spheres  of 
the  universe  stand  under  his  control.  In  most  of  the  Vedic  texts 
precise  statements  are  gi\en  ol  the  specific  miraculous  rewards 
or  magic  powers  that  one  can  expect  to  derive  from  the  various 
sorts  of  learning  communicated.  Yo  evarn  veda,  ''who  knows 
thus,"  is  a  formula  continually  encountered.  "Who  knows  thus 
—assimilates  into  himself  the  superhuman  powers  of  which  he 
has  come  to  understand  die  secret  eificacy  and  essence  through 
his  study  and  practice  of  this  lesson." 

We  may  select  from  the  vast  store  one  illustration  which  will 
sufficiently  show  what  worship  was  paid  to  every  kind  of  knowl- 
edge, and  to  the  possessor  of  the  knowledge.  This  is  a  text  that  is 
at  once  a  document  of  metaphysics  and  a  curious  power-recipe, 
a  terrible  secret  weapon  of  the  arthasastra,  the  wisdom  of  poli- 
tics.28 It  has  survived  to  us  ftoin  the  feudal  battlefields  of  the 
deep  Indo-Aryan  past—the  chivalrous  age  that  is  leflected  in 
the  disastrous  war  of  the  Mahdbhdiata.29  This  war,  which  has 

28  Cf.  supra,  pp.  35-38. 

-a  Editor's  note:  The  most  celebrated  examples  of  India's  vast  body  of 
Parana  (cf.  supra,  p.  61,  Ediioi's  note)  ate  the  two  folk  epks  known  as 
the  Rdmayana  and  Mahabharata  (the  latter  is.  eight  times  as  long  as  the 
Odyssey  and  Iliad  combined),  which  appear  to  have  assumed  their  present 
form  during  the  years  between  400  b.c.  and  400  a.d.  (cf.  M.  Winternitz, 
Geschkhte  der  indischen  Litteratur,  Vol.  J,  pp.  403  and  439-440).  This 
interval— one  of  immense  transformations  in  India  (cf.  infra,  pp.  494"5°7) 
—stretches  as  a  bridge  between  two  Golden  Ages;  the  first,  the  period  of 
the  lndo-Aryan  political  and  spiritual  conquest  of  the  Indus,  Jumna,  and 
Gangetic  plain  (c.  1500-500  b.c),  was  marked  by  the  Vedas,  Brahmanas, 
and  Upanisads,  and  culminated  in  the  period  of  the  Buddha;  the  second, 
the  age  of  the  Gupta  dynasty  (320-647  A.n.).  represents  India's  classic  state- 
ment of  her  synthesized  Hindu-Buddhist  civilization,  and  is  the  highest 



become  so  famous  in  the  annals  of  Indian  civilization,  took 
place  in  a  period  when  the  prose  writings  of  the  Brahmana  texts 

of  an  impressive  scries  of  summits  of  medieval  Indian  creativity,  which 
are  known  to  history  by  the  names  of  the  various  imperial  houses  in  dif- 
ferent parts  of  India  under  which  they  arose;  for  example:  the  Early 
Calukya  dynasty  in  the  western  Dcccan  {550-753  a.d.),  and  the  dynasty 
of  the  Rastrakutas  who  succeeded  them;  the  Pallava  dynasty  in  South 
India  (third  to  ninth  centuries  a.i>.),  and  their  colonial  branches  in  Java 
and  Cambodia;  the  Rajput  kingdom  of  Kanauj  in  the  northwest  (ninth  to 
eleventh  centuries  a.d.);  the  dynasty  of  the  Later  Calukyas,  who  in  their 
turn  unseated  the  Rastrakutas  and  remained  in  power  until  the  end  of 
the  twelfth  century;  the  Colas,  who  succeeded  the  Pallavas  in  the  south 
(c.  850-1287  a.d.);  the  Hoysala  dynasty  in  Mysore  (zenith,  twelfth  and 
thirteenth  centuries  A.n.);  and  the  little  oasis  of  the  Raya  dynasty  at 
Vijayanagar  (c.  1370-1565),  which  was  the  last  nucleus  of  Hindu  civiliza- 
tion to  survive  the  sandstorm  of  the  Mohammedan  invasion. 

In  contrast  to  the  numerous  architectural  and  literary  remains  o£  these 
imperial  ages,  tangible  monuments  from  the  first  Golden  Age  are  almost 
non-existent;  for  the  early  Indo-Aryans,  like  the  early  Greeks,  neither  built 
in  stone  nor  committed  their  traditions  to  writing.  The  Vedas,  Brahmanas, 
and  Upanisads,  as  well  as  the  teachings  of  the  Buddha  and  his  con- 
temporaries, were  preserved  orally,  until  rendered  into  writing  sometime 
following  the  third  century  b.c.  Everything  not  regarded  as  worthy  of  a 
special  school  of  rememberers  was  therefore  lost,  either  totally  or  in  part. 

The  earliest  Puranic  compositions— the  epics,  romances,  and  heroic  lays 
of  the  Indo-Aryan  feudal  age— haw  .ill  thus  disappeared.  The  Rdmdyana 
and  Mahabharata,  as  well  as  the  twenty-odd  other  extant  Puranas  of  the 
late  period,  preserve  only  fragments  of  the  older  heroic  compositions, 
mingled  with  oceans  of  miscellaneous  folklore,  ascetic  moralizing  and 
learning,  popular  religious  tales,  and  the  sentiments  of  a  comparatively 
late  period  of  religiosity  in  which  Visnu— who  was  a  rather  unimportant 
deity  in  the  Vedic  period— is  the  supreme  personification  of  the  absolute. 
The  Bhagavad  Gild,  which  is  introduced  in  Book  VI  of  the  Mahabharata 
and  announced  as  the  teaching  of  Visnu  incarnate  in  the  hero  Krsna,  is  so 
late  that  it  can  bring  together  in  one  rounded  statement  the  doctrines  of 
the  Sahkhya  and  Upanisads,  and  thus  prepare  the  ground  (as  Dr.  Zimmer 
shows,  infra,  pp.  378-409)  for  the  final,  full-fledged  syntheses  of  the 
Vedanta  and  the  Tantra. 

Nevertheless  the  consensus  of  scholarly  opinion  places  the  epic  battle 


and  early  Upanisads  were  being  fixed  in  the  forms  in  which 
they  are  preserved  to  the  present  day.  Our  example  of  meta- 
physical magic,  therefore,  may  well  have  been  employed  by  one 
or  more  of  the  actual  contenders.  It  is  preserved  in  an  exegetic 
prose  compilation  belonging  to  the  tradition  of  the  lig-veda, 
known  as  the  Aitarcya  Brahmana,  and  is  called  "The  Dying 
round  the  Holy  Power.'' :"> 

described  in  the  Mahabharala  in  the  early  years  of  the  Aryan  con- 
quest of  India,  c.  1100  u.c.  (see,  [or  example,  Cambridge  History  of 
India,  Vol.  I,  p.  276).  The  field  of  the  battle,  Kuruksetra,  lies  in  a  region 
between  the  Sutlej  and  the  Jumna,  which  was  the  center  o£  Indo-Aryan 
culture  in  the  period  of  the  Brahmanas,  while  the  character  of  the  fighting 
is  continually  suggestive  of  the  Iliad.  What  must  once  have  been  a  com- 
paratively brief  and  brilliant  chivalrous  epic  drew  to  itself,  in  the  course 
of  the  centuries,  all  the  lore  and  wonder-tales  of  the  various  worlds  of 
Indian  life,  growing  like  an  avalanche  until  it  encompassed,  and  m  turn 
became  the  supreme  inspiration  of,  the  whole  civilization  of  "the  land 
of  the  Bharatas."  For  the  past  fifteen  hundred  years  this  prodigious  folk- 
epic,  in  its  present  form,  has  supplied  the  prayers  and  meditations,  popu- 
lar plays,  princely  entertainments,  moral  admonitions,  fables,  romances, 
puppet  plays,  paintings,  songs,  poetic  images,  yogi-aphorisms,  nightly 
dreams,  and  patterns  for  daily  conduct  of  the  hundreds  of  millions 
dwelling  between  the  Vale  of  Kashmir  and  the  tropical  Isle  of  Bali.  As 
they  say  in  India  today:  "If  you  do  not  find  it  in  the  Makdbharata  you 
will  not  find  it  in  the  world." 

"Attareya  Brahmana  8.  28.  (Translated  by  Arthur  Berriedale  Keith  in 
The  Rtgveda  Brahmanas,  Harvard  Oriental  Series,  Vol.  XXV,  Cambridge, 
Mass.,  10,20.)  This  work  is  a  convenient  introduction  to,  and  specimen  of, 
the  forms  of  Brahmana  theology  and  ritual.  See  especially  the  remarkable 
story  of  the  Brahman  youth  Sunahscpa,  through  whom  human  sacrifices 
were  abolished  (Ail.  Brahm.  7.  13  ff.).  The  story  is  rendered  in  an  excellent 
prose.  (Hymns  ascribed  to  Sunahsepa  in  Rg-veda  1.  24-30.  by  the  way,  con- 
tain no  allusion  to  the  predicament  depicted  in  this  legend.)  These  Brah- 
mana tales  are  the  oldest  specimens  of  prose  in  any  Indo-Aryan  language; 
they  arc  presented  in  a  mixture  of  prose  and  verse  such  as  we  find  again  in 
ancient  Celtic  poetry  and  in  the  Buddhist  legends  of  the  Jdtaha. 

A  briefer  version  of  "The  Dying  round  the  Holy  Power"  appears  in 
Taittirlya  Upanisad  3.  10. 



"Now  comes  the  dying  round  the  holy  power  (brahmanah 
parimarah).  He  who  knows  the  dying  round  the  holy  power, 
round  him  the  rivals  that  vie  with  and  hate  him  die. 

"He  who  blows  here  [i.e.,  the  wind,  die  a  11- pervading,  ever- 
moving  life-breath  of  the  macrocosm,  the  vital  breath  (prana) 
of  the  universe]  is  the  Holy  Power  (brahman).  [That  brahman 
is  the  secret  life-essence  of  everything.  "Who  knows  thus,"  yo 
evam  veda,  participates  in  that  vital  principle's  relentless 
strength,  and  in  his  own  restricted  sphere  can  enact  its  over- 
whelming role.]  Round  him  [who  blows  here]  die  these  five 
deities:  the  lightning,  the  rain,  the  moon,  the  sun,  the  fire. 
The  lightning  after  lightening  enters  into  the  rain  [vanishes  into 
the  rain,  disappears,  dissolves,  dies  in  the  rain];  it  is  concealed; 
then  men  do  not  perceive  it." 

That  is  the  basic  statement  of  the  charm;  now  the  parallel 
for  the  human  sphere:  "When  a  man  dies,  then  he  is  concealed, 
then  men  do  not  perceive  him." 

And  on  the  basis  of  this  macromicrncosmic  correspondence 
we  learn  the  following  technique:  "He  [who  practices  the  charm 
or  ritual  of  the  dying  round  the  holy  power,  this  magic  per- 
formance (karma)  which  constitutes  part  of  the  "way  of  ritual 
deeds"  (karma-marga)  for  the  attainment  of  a  superhuman 
status]  should  say  at  the  death  of  lightning  [i.e.,  the  moment  the 
flash  is  seen  to  disappear  into  the  rain]:  'Let  my  enemy  die,  let 
him  be  concealed,  may  they  not  perceive  him!'  [That  is  the 
curse  put  on  the  enemy,  a  charm  of  destruction  by  analogy, 
working  at  a  distance.]  Swiftly  they  [i.e.,  the  friends  of  the  vic- 
tim, other  people]  perceive  him  not." 

And  now  we  proceed  to  the  next  stage  of  the  charm: 

"The  rain  having  rained  enters  into  the  moon  [for  the  moon 
is  regarded  as  the  receptacle  and  main  source  of  the  all-enliven- 
ing life-sap  of  the  cosmic  waters;  these  in  the  form  of  rain  feed 
the  vegetable  and  animal  kingdoms,  but  when  the  rain  ceases 
the  power  re-enters  the  source  from  which  it  became  manifest, 


i.e.,  disappears  and  dies  into  King  Moon,  the  vessel  of  all  the 
waters  of  immortal  life];  it  is  concealed;  then  men  do  not  per- 
ceive it." 

Now  again:  "When  a  man  dies,  then  he  is  concealed,  then 
men  do  not  perceive  him.  He  [the  practicer  of  the  charm] 
should  say  at  the  death  of  the  rain:  'Let  my  enemy  die,  let  him 
be  concealed,  may  they  not  perceive  him!'  Swiftly  they  perceive 
him  not. 

"The  moon  at  the  conjunction  enters  into  the  sun;  it  is  con- 
cealed; then  men  do  not  perceive  it.  When  a  man  dies,  then  he 
is  concealed,  then  men  do  not  perceive  him.  He  should  say 
at  the  death  of  the  moon:  'Let  my  enemy  die,  let  him  be  con- 
cealed, may  they  not  perceive  himP  Swiftly  they  perceive  him 

"The  sun  on  setting  enters  into  the  fire  [the  sacrificial  and 
household  fire  which  is  kept  burning  by  every  family  father 
and  worshiped  as  the  main  presiding  and  tutelary  divinity  of 
the  Vedic  household;  Agni  ("fire")  is  the  messenger  of  the 
gods;  into  his  mouth  are  poured  the  offerings;  on  the  rising 
flame  and  smoke  he  then  flies  with  the  offerings  to  the  invisible 
celestial  abodes,  where  lie  feeds  his  brother  divinities  from  his 
mouth,  as  a  bird  its  young];  it  is  concealed;  then  men  do  not 
perceive  him."  The  murderous  charm  is  again  projected  against 
the  enemy.  He  shall  die  as  the  sun  dies  every  night  when  its 
light  and  heat  are  reabsorbed  into  the  fire.  The  sacrificial  fire 
keeps  burning  from  sunset  to  dawn,  and  the  light  that  in  the 
morning  becomes  manifest  with  the  sun  is  regarded  as  derived 
from  it.  Fire  is  thus  of  greater  power  than  the  sun. 

"The  fire,  breathing  forth  and  upward,  enters  into  the  wind." 
The  wind  is  air,  the  highest  holy  power  of  the  universe,  brah- 
man, the  life-force  of  the  world;  for  the  wind  persists  in  its 
blowing  when  all  the  other  powers  of  the  body  of  the  universe 
have  temporarily  ceased  to  exist,  when  they  are  no  longer  mani- 
fest but  have  melted  into  each  other  in  their  regular  sequence. 


Anyone  worshiping  one  of  these  minor  powers  as  though  it  were 
the  highest  shares  in  its  weakness  and  must  succumb  to  him 
whose  superior  knowledge  of  the  more  comprehensive  force 
has  gained  unequaled  strength  for  him.  "It  [the  fire]  is  con- 
cealed [in  the  wind];  men  do  not  perceive  it.  .  .  ." 

The  curse  of  death  is  then  pronounced  for  the  last  time,  and 
this  ends  the  first  phase  of  the  charm.  But  now  begins  the  task 
of  controlling  the  reverse  process: 

"Thence  are  these  deities  born  again;  from  the  wind  is  born 
the  fire  [fire  being  churned  by  means  of  a  stick  twirled  in  a  hole 
nicked  in  a  board;  the  stick  is  of  hard  wood,  the  board  of 
softer;  the  little  flame  of  fire  alights  on  the  board— as  it  were, 
out  of  the  air];  for  from  breath  (prana)  it  is  born,  being  kindled 
by  strength.  [The  wind  in  the  form  of  the  life-breath-energy 
(jtvgvua,  spiritvs,  prana)  within  man,  joined  to  bodily  strength 
(bala)  through  man's  exertion  during  the  process  of  churning, 
actually  produces  the  fire.] 

"Having  seen  it,  he  should  say:  'Let  the  fire  be  born;  let  not 
my  enemy  be  born;  far  hence  may  he  hasten  away.'  " 

Then  the  effect:  "Far  hence  he  hastens  away. 

"From  the  fire  the  sun  is  born;  having  seen  it,  he  should 
say:  'Let  the  sun  be  born;  let  not  my  enemy  be  born;  far  hence 
may  he  hasten  away."  Far  hence  he  hastens  away. 

"From  the  sun  the  moon  is  born.  .  .  ."  and  when  the  moon 
becomes  visible,  the  operator  is  to  pronounce  the  same  charm. 

"From  the  moon  the  rain  is  born. .  .  ."  The  worker  of  magic 
watches  the  lightning  as  it  appears,  and  again  puts  the  curse 
upon  his  rival:  "  'Let  not  my  enemy  be  born;  far  hence  may  he 
hasten  away.'  Far  hence  he  hastens  away. 

"This  is  the  dying  round  the  holy  power.  [Its  effectiveness 
is  guaranteed  by  its  origin  and  success;  as  follows:]  Maitreya 
Kausarava  proclaimed  this  dying  round  the  holy  power  to 
Sutvan  Kairisi  Bhargayana.  [The  first  was  a  priest,  the  latter  a 
king.]  Round  him  died  five  kings;  then  Sutvan  attained  great- 


ness  (mahat)."  He  became,  that  is  to  say,  a  maharaja,  having 
reduced  all  other  rajas  lo  vassalage  or  lorced  allegiance. 

There  is  a  special  observance  or  vow  (vrata)  that  accompanies 
this  magic  ritual,  and  this  must  be  kept  by  the  one  who  per- 
forms it.  "lie  should  not  sit  down  before  the  foe;  if  he  think 
him  to  be  standing,  he  should  stand  also.  Nor  should  he  lie 
down  before  the  foe;  if  he  think  him  to  be  sitting,  he  should  sit 
also.  Nor  should  he  go  to  sleep  before  the  foe;  if  lie  think  him 
awake,  he  should  keep  awake  also." 

Then  at  last,  the  result  of  all  these  painstaking  observances: 
"Even  if  his  enemy  has  a  head  of  stone,  swiftly  he  lays  him  low 
—lays  him  low." 

This  is  a  vivid  specimen  of  the  magic  of  him  "who  knows 
thus,"  yo  evam  veda.  In  so  far  as  it  depends  on  knowledge— the 
knowledge  of  brahman— it  is  an  archaic  example  of  jnana-marga, 
the  "way  of  knowledge,"  but  in  so  far  as  it  can  be  successful 
only  when  accompanied  by  a  performance  of  the  special  observ- 
ance or  vow  (vrata),  it  belongs  also  to  karma-marga,  the  "way 
of  ritual  action,"  the  main  thing  being  that  it  is  to  be  practiced 
without  fail  on  the  five  occasions  of  the  birth  and  death  of  the 
five  cosmic  powers. 

Anyone  undertaking  such  an  enterprise  of  magic  for  the 
gaining  of  supremacy  over  unfriendly  neighbors— rival  feudal 
chieftains,  perhaps  one's  own  cousins  (as  in  the  Mahabharata) 
at  step-brothers  (as  in  the  rase  of  the  constant  battle  for  cosmic 
supremacy  between  the  gods  and  the  anti-gods  or  titans)— will 
have  a  complicated  task.  It  will  keep  him  busy  all  the  while, 
what  with  the  fire,  the  sun  rising  and  setting,  and  the  moon  ap- 
pearing and  again  disappearing.  Particularly  during  thunder- 
storms the  man  will  have  to  be  on  the  alert-the  rain  starting 
and  ceasing  and  the  lightning  now  flashing  and  immediately 
vanishing.  He  will  have  to  be  quick  to  mutter  his  curses  at  pre- 
cisely the  correct  instant  if  he  is  to  cast  his  spells  at  the  distant 
enemy  with  any  hope  of  success.  And  with  all  this  business  of 


remaining  on  one's  feet,  not  lying  down  while  the  enemy  is 
sitting,  and  not  going  to  sleep  before  the  rival,  the  one  prac- 
ticing the  charm  must  have  had  much  the  look  of  a  neurotic 
caught  by  a  strange  obsession.  Yet,  obviously,  all  would  be  well 
worth  the  trouble  if  the  secret  weapon  got  rid  of  the  ring  of 
enemies  and  opened  to  him,  yo  evarn  veda,  the  dominion  of 
paramount  royal  rule. 

This  is  a  sample  of  magic  arthaSastra 81  from  as  terrible  an 
age  of  internecine  warfare  as  any  period  in  Indian  history:  for 
that  matter,  any  period  in  the  history  of  the  world.  It  was  an 
age  that  ended  with  the  mutual  slaughter,  the  self-extermina- 
tion, of  the  whole  of  Indian  chivalry,  terminating  the  older 
style  of  Aryan  feudal  kingship.  The  great  blood-bath  depicted 
in  the  Mahahharata  marked  at  once  the  climax  and  the  close 
of  the  Vedic-Aryan  feudal  age.  In  the  following  period,  which 
was  that  of  the  Upanisads,  the  Sanskrit  term  for  "hero,"  vira, 
was  no  longer  applied  primarily  to  the  man  of  action  but  instead 
to  the  saint— the  sage  who  had  become  the  master,  not  of  others, 
not  of  the  surrounding  kingdoms  of  the  world,  but  of  himself. 



The  term  brahman,  which  in  the  translation  above  is  ren- 
dered "holy  power"  (brahmanah  parimarafy,  "the  dying  round 

81  Note  that  this  terra  (cf.  supra,  p.  36)  refers  both  to  the  literature  of 
the  science  in  general  and  to  a  particular  volume  on  the  subject  written 
by  Canakya  Kautilya. 



the  holy  power"),  has  been  from  Vedic  times  to  the  present  day 
the  most  important  single  concept  of  Hindu  religion  and  phi- 
losophy. As  wc  proceed  in  our  present  study,  the  meaning  of 
brahman  will  open  out  and  become  clear;  it  is  not  a  word  that 
one  can  simply  translate  into  English.  Nevertheless,  we  may 
prepare  the  ground  by  a  brief  preliminary  investigation,  con- 
ducted along  lines  that  have  been  held  in  high  esteem  in  Vedic 
theology,  and  in  the  later  Hindu  sciences,  as  a  technique  for 
discovering  not  only  the  meaning  of  a  term  (namari)  but  also  the 
essential  natuie  of  the  denoted  object  (rupa);  by  a  review, 
that  is  ro  say,  of  the  etymology  of  the  vocables  in  question. 

Taking  the  phrase,  brahmanah  parhnarah:  the  root  mar,  "to 
die,"  is  related  to  "mortal,"  and  the  prefix  pari  corresponds  to 
(he  Greek  jtfoi,  "around"  (viz.  peri-meter,  "measurement  around, 
i.e.,  (ircumicrcnce";  periscope,  "an  instrument  for  looking 
around").  The  ending  -ah,  which  is  added  to  the  root,  forms  a 
\crhal  noun.  And  so  we  read  this  term  parimarah  "the  dying 

As  a  translation  of  brahman  in  the  above  context,  Professor 
Keith's  rendering,  "the  holy  power,"  seems  to  me  an  apt  and 
happy  choice— a  circumscription  of  the  term  that  fits  very  well 
the  special  cast  ol  the  magic  text.  In  the  noun  bra/i-man,  brah- 
is  the  stem,  -man  the  ending  (the  form  -manah,  of  the  text,  is 
the  genitive).  This  ending  -man  will  be  recognized  in  at-man, 
kar-man,  na-man;  its  force  is  the  formation  of  a  noun  of  action 
(nomina  actionis).  For  example,  at-man,  from  the  root  an,  "to 
breathe"  (some  believe,  rather,  from  at,  "to  go")  is  the  principle 
of  bieathing  (or  of  going),  which  is  life.  Similarly,  kar-man, 
from  the  root  kr,  "to  make,"  is  "work,  action,  rite,  perform- 
ance"; and  na-man,  from  the  root  jna,  "to  know,"  means 
"name."  '2 

Now  the  stem  brah-  occurs  in  a  shorter,  weaker  form  as  brh-; 

a'-  Ndmcn  is  the  form  of  the  stem,  noma  the  form  of  the  nominative 
singular;  so  also,  karman,  karma;  the  nominative  of  atman  is  atma.  Com- 



and  both  formations  appear  in  the  alternate  names  of  the  Vedic 
deity  Brhas-pati,  called  also  Brahmanas-pati,  who  is  the  house- 
priest  and  guru  of  Indra,  king  of  the  gods.  Just  as  every  human 
king  has  as  guru  a  Brahman  house-priest  who  serves  also  as 
court-magician— defending  the  king  from  demons,  diseases,  and 
ihc  black  rnagic  of  his  enemies,  while  working  counter-magic 
in  turn,  to  make  the  king  paramount,  a  maharaja— so  too  was 
Indra  served  by  this  divine  Brhaspati,  the  enactor  of  the  tradi- 
tional role  of  the  king-god's  spiritual  and  political  adviser.  It 
was,  indeed,  by  virtue  of  the  power-wisdom  of  Br.haspati  that 
Indra  conquered  the  anti-gods  or  titans  (asuras)  and  held  them 
at  bay  in  their  subterranean  mansions. 

Brhaspati  is  the  heavenly  archetype  of  the  caste  of  the  Brah- 
uiaiis-  a  di\ine  pci bonification  of  ritual  skill  and  inventiveness, 
unfailing  in  cunning  devices,  embodying  the  very  quintessence 
of  the  highly  developed  intellectual  faculties  of  the  Hindu 
genius.  He  is  regarded  as  the  first  of  the  divine  priestly  ances- 
tors of  one  of  the  two  most  ancient  Vedic  priestly  families,  the 
Aiigiras,  whose  descendants,  in  close  friendship  with  the 
heavenly  powers  during  the  dim  ages  at  the  beginnings  of  time, 
beheld  the  gods  in  visions  and  gave  expression  to  their  visions 
in  the  potent  stanzas  {re,  rg)  of  the  Rg-veda.m  That  is  why  the 
wisdom-power  of  these  stanzas  is  capable  of  conjuring  gods  to 
sacrificial  rites,  gaining  their  good  will,  and  winning  their  as- 
sistance for  the  ends  of  man— or  rather,  for  the  ends  of  the 
particular  family  in  control  of  the  Vedic  hymn.  The  Sanskrit 
ending  -pati  of  the  word  Brhas-pati  means  "lord"  (compare  the 
Greek  nooi;,  "husband,  spouse,"  fern,  noma,  "mistress,  queen"). 
Literally  then,  Brhas-pati  is  "the  Potent  One,"  the  one  with  the 

pare  yogin,  yogi.  Scholars  have  not  been  consistent  in  their  selection  of 
the  form  in  which  to  carry  over  these  Sanskrit  nouns.  For  example, 
dtman  h  more  commonly  <een  than  atma,  karma  than  karman. 

*■  The  Sanskrit  word  aiigiras  is  related  to  the  Greek  (tyyeXoi;,  whence 



power  of  wielding  brh  or  brah.  And  so  what  is  brah?  As  we  shall 
see— it  is  something  far  from  "intellect." 

Brh  occurs  as  a  verb  of  which  only  the  present  participle 
survives,  this  being  employed  as  an  adjective:  the  commonly 
encountered>  meaning  "great."  Furthermore,  there  is  a 
derivative  form  (with  an  inserted  nasal:  brrhh)  which  appears  in 
the  verb  brmh-ayati,  "to  make  brh,  to  render  brh,"  i.e.,  "to  make 
or  rendei  great";  for  brh  means  "to  grow,  to  increase"  and, 
when  referring  to  sounds,  "to  roar."  Brmhita,  which,  as  we  have 
just  seen,  signifies  "made  great,"  when  referring  to  sounds  de- 
notes "the  roaring  of  an  elephant"— that  mighty  trumpeting 
which,  whether  angry  or  triumphant,  is  the  greatest  of  all  ani- 
mal noises.  Brh— the  word  itself— has  a  highly  sonorous  ring. 

Brmhayati  in  classic  Hindu  medicine  denotes  the  art  of  in- 
creasing the  life-strength  in  weak  people;  the  art  of  making 
fat.  The  doctor  "fattens"  (brmhayati)  those  who  are  thin.  Simi- 
larly, divinities  become  brmhitdj  "fattened,  swollen,  puffed  up," 
by  hymns  and  praises;  and  men,  in  return,  by  blessings.  There 
is  a  prayer  pronounced  over  one  setting  forth  on  a  journey: 
Aristam  vrtija  panthdnam  mad-anudhydna-brmhitd:  "Proceed 
along  your  path,  and  may  it  be  free  of  obstacles  and  harm.  You 
are  increased  (brmhita)  by  my  soul-force,  which  accompanies 
you  in  the  form  of  my  inward  vision."  To  which  is  pronounced 
the  reply:  Tejo-rdha-brmhitah:  "These  (enemies)  I  shall  slay, 
being  swollen  or  increased,  by  the  half  of  your  fiery  life- 
strength."  84 

Bxthhayati  means  "increase,  strengthen,  fortify,  intensify,"  and 
the  Vedic  noun  barhand,  from  the  same  root,  denotes  "power, 
strength."  Thus  it  appears  that,  in  the  Vedic  vocabulary,  brah- 
man corresponded  exactly  to  what  ihe  Hinduism  of  subsequent 
centuries  terms  iakti:  "energy,  force,   power,  potency." *■  A 

s*  Editor's  note:  I  have  not  been  able  to  locate  the  source  of  this  quotation. 

88  Editor's  note:  It  has  become  customary  in  the  Occident  to  designate 

the  orthodoxy  of  the  first  great  Indo-Aryan  period   (the  religion  of  the 



person  who  is  sak-ta  is  "potent  to  do  something."  Indra,  king  of 
the  gods,  is  sak-ra,  "the  potent  one,"  die  one  endowed  with 
strength;3"  and  his  queen,  IndranI,  is  correspondingly  sacl,  "the 
potent  female."  Professor  Keith,  therefore,  was  being  quite 
exact  when  he  chose  the  term  "holy  power"  to  render  brahman, 
in  his  translation  of  the  old  Vcdic  charm. 

Power,  the  supreme  aim  and  instrument  of  magic,  was  in 
fact  the  great  and  determinative  element  in  all  Vedic  priestcraft. 
As  we  have  seen,  he  who  knows  and  can  avail  himself  of  the 
highest  power  in  the  universe  is  all-powerful  himself.  The 
power  is  to  be  found  every wheie  and  assumes  many  forms, 
many  manifestations.  It  abides  with  man— not  in  the  outermost 
stratifications  of  his  nature,  but  at  the  very  core,  in  the  inner- 
most sanctum  of  his  life.  From  there  it  wells  up.  It  increases, 
floods  into  man's  body  and  brain.  And  it  can  be  made  to  grow, 
so  that  it  takes  form  and  bursts  into  the  mind  as  a  vision,  or  to 
the  tongue  in  the  lasting  form  of  the  powerful  magic  spell,  the 
potent  stanza.  The  word  brahman  in  the  Vedic  hymns  simply 
means,  in  many  cases,  "this  stanza,  this  verse,  this  line."  For 
example:  "By  this  stanza  (arietta  brahmana)  I  make  you  free 
from  disease."  a? 

Biahman  as  the  chaim,  or  sacred  magic  formula,  is  the  crys- 
tallized, frozen  form  (the  convenient,  handy  form,  as  it  were)  ol 
the  highest  divine  energy.  This  energy  is  perennially  latent  in 
man,  dormant,  yet  capable  of  being  stirred  to  creative  wakeful- 
ness through  concentration.  By  brooding  upon  it,  hatching  it, 

Vedas,  Brahmanas,  and  Upanisads)  by  the  name  "Brahman ism,"  and  that 
of  the  post-Buddhistic  period  and  modern  India  (the  religion  of  the 
Bhagavad  Gi/d,  and  of  the  Vcdantic,  Puranic,  and  Tantric  teachers)  by 
the  name  "Hinduism."  For  the  term  iakti,  cf.  supra,  p.  61,  Editor's  note. 

3a  $ak-ra,  "endowed  with  ink";  compare  dhi-ra,  "endowed  with  dhi," 
i.e.,  with  the  virtue  of  dhyana,  profound  religious  meditation.  Dhira  means 
"steady,  steadfast,  strong-minded,  courageous,  calm,  energetic,  wise,  deep, 
agreeable,  gentle";  but  then  also,  "lazy,  dull,  headstrong,  bold." 

81  Atharva  Veda,  passim. 



the  wizard  priest  makes  it  available  to  liis  mind  and  purpose, 
bringing  it  to  crystallization  in  the  charm.  Not  yet  so  crystal- 
lized, in  its  unprecipitated,  liquid  or  ethereal  state,  it  is  the 
powerful  urge  and  surge  that  rises  from  man's  unconscious 
being.  Brahman,  in  other  words,  is  that  through  which  we  live 
and  act,  the  fundamental  spontaneity  of  our  nature.  Proteus- 
like, it  is  capable  of  assuming  the  form  of  any  specific  emotion, 
vision,  impulse,  or  thought.  It  moves  our  conscious  personality 
by  premonitions,  flashes  of  advice,  and  bursts  of  desire,  but  its 
source  is  hidden  in  the  depth,  outside  the  pale  of  sense- 
experience  and  the  mind-process.  Brahman  transcends  these, 
hence  is  "transcendental"  (what  in  modern  psychology  we  term 
"unconscious").  Brahman  properly  is  that  which  lies  beyond  the 
sphere  and  reach  of  intellectual  consciousness,  in  the  dark,  great, 
unmeasured  zone  of  height  beyond  height,  depth  beyond  depth. 

Brahman,  then,  the  highest,  deepest,  final,  transcendental 
power  inhabiting  the  visible,  tangible  levels  of  our  nature, 
transcends  both  the  so-called  "gross  body"  (slhttla-iarira)  and 
the  inner  world  of  forms  and  experiences— the  notions,  ideas, 
thoughts,  emotions,  visions,  fantasies,  etc.— of  the  "subtle  body" 
(suksma-sarlra).  As  the  power  that  turns  into  and  animates 
everything  in  the  microcosm  as  well  as  in  the  outer  world,  it  is 
the  divine  inmate  of  the  mortal  coil  and  is  identical  with  the 
Self  (atman)— the  higher  aspect  of  that  which  we  in  the  West 
style  (indiscriminately)  the  "soul." 

For  in  our  Occidental  concept  of  the  "soul"  we  have  mixed 
up,  on  the  one  hand,  elements  that  belong  to  the  mutable 
sphere  of  the  psyche  (thoughts,  emotions,  and  similar  elements 
of  ego-consciousness),  and  on  the  other,  what  is  beyond,  behind, 
or  above  these:  the  indestructible  ground  of  our  existence, 
which  is  the  anonymous  Self  (Self  with  a  capital  S;  by  no  means 
the  bounded  ego),  far  aloof  from  the  trials  and  history  of  the 
personality.  This  invisible  source  of  life  is  not  to  be  confused 
with  the  tangible  matter,  nerves  and  organs,  receptacles  and 


vehicles,  of  the  manifest  life-process,  which  constitute  the  gross 
body;  neither  with  any  of  the  various  highly  individualized 
faculties,  states  of  reasoning,  emotions,  feelings,  or  perceptions 
that  go  to  make  up  the  subtle  body.  The  true  Self  (alman; 
brahman)  is  wrapped  within,  and  not  to  be  confused  with,  all 
the  "spiritual"  and  "material"  stratifications  of  its  perishable 

Brahman— cosmic  power,  in  the  supreme  sense  of  the  term- 
is  the  essence  of  all  that  we  are  and  know.  All  things  have  been 
precipitated  wonderfully  out  of  its  omnipresent  all-transcending 
omnipotence.  All  things  bring  it  into  manifestation— but  only 
the  holy  wisdom  of  the  competent  wizard-sage  deserves  its  name; 
for  this  sage  is  the  one  being  in  the  universe  devoted  to  making 
conscious  in  himself,  and  consciously  manifest  in  action,  that 
which  in  all  else  is  deeply  hidden.  Brhas-pati,  Brahmanas-pati, 
is  the  potent  knower  and  bringer  into  form  of  every  kind  of 
sign  and  instrument  of  saocd  wisdom:  charms,  hymns,  and 
rites,  as  well  as  exegetical  interpretations  and  elucidations.  In 
him  the  bubbling  waters  from  the  hidden  source  (which  is  the 
divine  power  in  us  all)  flow  freely,  abundantly,  and  with  un- 
remitting force.  To  tap  and  live  by  those  waters,  fed  by  their 
inexhaustible  force,  is  the  alpha  and  omega  of  his  priestly  role. 
And  he  is  able  to  maintain  himself  in  that  role  because  of  the 
yoga  technique  that  has  always  attended,  guided,  and  consti- 
tuted one  of  the  great  disciplines  of  Indian  philosophy. 

Every  being  dwells  on  the  very  brink  of  the  infinite  ocean  of 
the  force  of  life.  We  all  carry  it  within  us:  supreme  strength— 
the  plenitude  of  wisdom.  It  is  never  baffled  and  cannot  be  done 
away,  yet  is  hidden  deep.  It  is  down  in  the  darkest,  profoundest 
vault  of  the  castle  of  our  being,  in  the  forgotten  well-house,  the 
deep  cistern.  What  if  one  should  discover  it  again,  and  then  draw 
from  it  unceasingly?  That  is  the  leading  thought  of  Indian  phi- 
losophy. And  since  all  the  Indian  spiritual  exercises  are  devoted 
seriously  to  this  practical  aim— not  to  a  merely  fanciful  contem- 


plation  or  discussion  of  lofty  and  profound  ideas— they  may  well 
l>e  regarded  as  representing  one  of  the  most  realistic,  matter-of- 
fact,  practical-minded  systems  of  thought  and  training  ever  set 
up  by  the  human  mind.  How  to  come  to  Brahman  and  re- 
main in  touch  with  it;  how  to  become  identified  with  Brahman, 
living  out  of  it;  how  to  become  divine  while  still  on  earth— trans- 
formed, reborn  adamantine  while  on  the  earthly  plane;  that  is 
the  quest  that  has  inspired  and  deified  the  spirit  of  man  in 
India  through  the  ages. 

Still,  we  cannot  say  that  this  is  exclusively  an  Indian  objec- 
tive; for  it  is  reflected  in  many  myths  throughout  the  world. 
The  ancient  Mesopotamian  hero  Gilgamesh  set  forth  to  seek 
the  Watercress  of  Immortality.  The  Arthurian  knight  Owein 
found  the  Fountain  of  Life;  Parsifal,  the  Holy  Grail.  So  like- 
wise, Herakles  overcame  the  guardian  monster-dog  of  the  realm 
of  death,  and  after  numerous  deeds  of  valor  ascended  in  the 
flame  of  the  funeral  pyre  to  a  seat  of  immortality  among  the 
gods.  Jason  and  the  Greek  heroes  of  his  day,  in  their  stout  ves- 
sel Argo,  gained  the  Golden  Fleece.  Orpheus  sought  Eurydice, 
his  cherished  soul,  hoping  to  bring  her  back  from  among  the 
shadows.  And  the  Chinese  emperor  Shih  Huang  sent  forth  an 
expedition  (which  never  returned)  into  the  vast  Eastern  Sea,  to 
secure  the  Plant  of  Immortality  from  the  Isles  of  the  Blest. 
Such  tales  represent  in  the  universally  known  picture-language 
of  mythology  the  one  primal  and  final,  everlasting  human  quest. 
The  adventure  was  continued  in  medieval  Europe  in  the  secret 
laboratories  of  the  mysterious  alchemists,  who  were  concerned 
with  the  transmutation  of  vile  matter  into  imperishable  gold 
and  the  production  of  the  philosophers'  stone— that  materialized 
Brahman,  containing  a  supreme  power  over  all  phenomena, 
which  should  be  potent  to  change  everything  into  anything. 
Throughout  the  world  we  find  men  striving  for  this  summum 
bonum:  the  gold,  the  pearl,  the  watercress  of  deathlessness. 
Maui,  the  trickster-hero  of  Polynesia,  lost  his  life  attempting 


to  win  immortality  for  mankind  by  diving  down  the  throat  of 
Iiis  ancestress  Iline-nui-te-po.  The  search  has  been  pursued  in 
many  ways.  We  of  the  West  are  continuing  it,  even  today, 
through  the  science  of  our  doctors  of  medicine.  The  unique  thing 
about  the  quest  as  conducted  in  India  is  its  formulation  and  pur- 
suit in  terms  of  thought.  Indian  philosophy,  therefore,  does  not 
contradict,  but  rather  elucidates  and  corroborates  the  universally 
known  mythological  symbols.  It  is  a  practical  mental  and  physical 
discipline  for  their  realization  in  life  through  an  awakening  and 
adjustment  of  the  mind. 

Before  embarking,  however,  on  our  study  of  the  Indian 
techniques  for  this  perennial  human  adventure,  wc  must  gain 
some  sense  of  the  general  state  of  Indian  human  affairs.  This 
can  be  done  by  tracing  in  brief  outline  India's  three  philoso- 
phies of  worldly  life— those  of  the  so-called  tr'warga;**  the  po- 
litical doctrines  of  the  arthasastra,  psychological  of  the  kania- 
saslra,  and  ethical  of  the  dharmasastra.  For  what  men  have  to 
transform  into  divine  essence  are  precisely  the  vicissitudes  that 
afflict  their  tangible  personalities— the  bondages  of  their  desires 
and  sufferings,  possessions  (artha),  delights  (kama),  and  virtues 
(dharma).  It  is  to  these,  which  are  the  very  life  of  the  Old  Adam, 
that  the  hero-adventurer  dies  when  he  passes  from  the  known 
and  familiar  to  what  is  beyond  and  underneath  it.  omnipresent 
but  normally  out  of  reach.  Rebirth,  release,  means  to  go  be- 
yond what  is  known. 

One  cannot  but  feel  that  such  a  sublime  flight  as  India's  into 
the  transcendental  realm  would  never  have  been  attempted  had 
the  conditions  of  life  been  the  least  bit  less  hopeless.  Release 
(moksa)  can  become  the  main  preoccupation  of  thought  only 
when  what  binds  human  beings  to  their  secular  normal  exist- 
ences affords  absolutely  no  hope— represents  only  duties,  bur- 
dens, and  obligations,  proposing  no  promising  tasks  or  aims  that 

88  Ci .  supra,  p.  4 1 ;  the  fourth  sphere  of  philosophy,  moksa,  "release," 
is  to  be  the  topic  of  Part  III. 


stimulate  and  justify  mature  ambitions  on  the  plane  of  earth. 
India's  propensity  for  transcendental  pursuit  and  the  misery 
of  India's  history  are,  most  certainly,  intimately  related  to  cacli 
other;  they  must  not  be  regarded  separately.  The  ruthless  phi- 
losophy of  politics  and  the  superhuman  achievements  in  meta- 
physics represent  the  two  sides  of  a  single  experience  of  life. 






The  World  at  War 

When,  in  August  1939, 1  read  of  the  German-Russian  non- 
aggression  pact,  which  just  preceded  the  opening  of  the 
present  war,1  I  was  as  much  surprised  as  many  who  were  sup- 
posed to  understand  more  than  Indologists  about  political  af- 
fairs and  who  might  have  known  better.  Yet  as  soon  as  I  learned 
of  this  startling  alliance  between  two  powers  that  had  been 
thought  to  be  natural  enemies,  professing  conflicting  interests 
and  ideals  of  life,  I  was  reminded  of  a  Hindu  tale,  a  beast  fable 
figuring  in  the  epic  Maiuib  liarata—ihat  unique  and  inexhaustible 
treasury  of  spiritual  and  secular  wisdom.  It  was  the  parable  of 
a  cat  and  a  mouse.  And  its  teaching  was  that  two  sworn  and 
deadly  enemies,  such  as  Hitler's  Germany  and  Stalin's  Russia, 
might  very  well  enter  into  an  alliance  and  present  a  united  front, 
if  such  an  arrangement  suited  the  temporary  interests  of  both. 
Once  upon  a  time— so  runs  this  timely  tale  '—there  lived  a 
wildcat  and  a  mouse;  and  they  inhabited  the  same  tree  in  the 

1  Editor's  note:  The  lectures  of  this  chapter  were  delivered  in  the  spring 
of  194s. 

2  Mahabharata  12.  138. 



jungle,  the  mouse  dwelling  in  a  hole  at  its  root,  and  the  wild 
tomcat  up  in  the  branches,  where  it  lived  on  bird's  eggs  and 
inexperienced  fledglings.  The  cat  enjoyed  eating  mice  also;  but 
the  mouse  of  the  tale  had  managed  to  keep  out  of  reach  of  its 

Now  one  day  a  trapper  placed  a  cunning  net  beneath  the 
tree,  and  the  cat  that  night  became  entangled  in  the  meshes. 
The  mouse,  delighted,  came  out  of  its  hole  and  took  conspicu- 
ous pleasure  in  walking  around  the  trap,  nibbling  at  the  bait, 
and  generally  making  the  most  of  the  misfortune.  When  lo! 
it  became  aware  that  two  other  enemies  had  arrived.  Overhead, 
in  the  dark  foliage  of  the  tree,  perched  an  owl  with  sparkling 
eyes,  who  was  just  about  to  pounce,  while  on  the  ground  a 
stalking  mongoose  was  approaching.  The  mouse,  in  a  sudden 
quandary,  decided  quickly  on  a  surprising  stratagem.  It  drew 
in  close  to  the  cat  and  declared  that  if  it  were  permitted  to  slip 
into  the  net  and  take  shelter  in  the  cat's  bosom  it  would  repay 
its  host  by  gnawing  through  the  meshes.  The  other  agreed. 
And  the  little  animal,  having  delayed  only  long  enough  to  re- 
ceive the  promise,  gladly  darted  in. 

But  if  the  cat  expected  a  prompt  release  it  was  disappointed; 
for  the  mouse  nestled  comfortably  in  against  its  body,  hiding 
as  deeply  as  possible  in  the  fur  in  order  to  disappear  from  the 
sight  of  the  two  watchful  enemies  without,  and  then,  safely 
sheltered,  decided  to  have  a  quiet  nap.  The  cat  protested.  The 
mouse  declared  there  was  no  hurry.  It  knew  that  it  could  slip 
from  the  trap  in  an  instant,  and  that  its  disgruntled  host  would 
simply  have  to  be  patient,  with  the  hope  of  getting  free.  So  it 
frankly  told  its  natural  enemy  that  it  thought  it  would  wait 
until  the  trapper  appeared;  the  cat,  then  threatened  in  its  turn, 
would  not  be  able  to  take  advantage  of  its  freedom  by  catching 
and  devouring  its  deliverer.  There  was  nothing  the  larger  ani- 
mal could  do.  Its  little  guest  took  a  nap  between  its  very  paws. 
The  mouse  peacefully  waited  for  the  coming  of  the  hunter, 


and  then,  when  the  man  could  be  seen  approaching  to  inspect 
his  traps,  safely  fulfilled  its  pledge  by  quickly  gnawing  through 
the  net  and  darting  into  its  hole,  while  the  cat,  with  a  desperate 
leap,  broke  free,  got  up  into  the  branches,  and  escaped  the 
death  at  hand. 

This  is  a  typical  example  from  the  vast  treasure  store  of 
India's  beast  fables  of  political  wisdom.  It  gives  an  idea  of  the 
cold-blooded  cynical  realism  and  sophistication  that  is  the  very 
life-sap  and  flavor  of  the  ancient  Indian  style  of  political  theory 
and  casuistry.  The  quick-witted  mouse,  completely  unpreju- 
diced in  his  forming  of  alliances  to  stave  off  danger,  was,  besides 
being  bold,  a  master  of  the  art  of  timing.  But  the  episode  of 
the  net  was  not  the  end  of  this  affair.  The  further  course  of  the 
talc  presents  the  particular  point  intended  for  the  instruction 
of  the  Hindu  kings  and  their  chancellors. 

Following  the  departure  of  the  disappointed  huntsman  from 
the  scene  with  his  shattered  net,  the  cat  came  down  from  the 
branches  and,  approaching  the  mousehole,  called  in  sweetly  to 
the  mouse.  He  invited  it  to  come  up  and  rejoin  its  old  com- 
panion. The  common  predicament  of  the  night  just  past  (so 
the  cat  maintained)  and  the  assistance  that  the  two  had  so  loy- 
ally given  to  each  other  in  their  common  struggle  for  survival 
had  forged  a  lasting  bond  that  expunged  their  former  differ- 
ences. Henceforward  the  two  should  be  friends  forever,  and 
trust  each  other  implicitly.  But  the  mouse  demurred.  It  re- 
mained cold  to  the  tomcat's  rhetoric,  stoutly  refusing  to  come 
out  of  its  secure  abode.  The  paradoxical  situation  that  had 
thrown  the  two  together  in  a  queer  temporary  co-operation 
having  passed,  no  words  could  induce  the  canny  little  creature 
to  draw  near  again  to  its  natural  enemy.  The  mouse  brought 
forth  in  justification  of  its  rejection  of  the  other's  insidious 
kindly  sentiments  the  formula  that  is  intended  to  be  the  moral 
of  the  tale,  which  is,  frankly  and  simply,  that  on  the  battle- 
ground of  politics  there  is  no  such  thing  as  lasting  friendship. 


There  can  be  no  traditional  bond,  no  cordial  alliance,  no 
sticking  together  in  the  future  because  of  common  experiences, 
perils,  and  victories  in  the  past.  In  the  course  of  the  unre- 
mitting struggle  of  political  powers— which  is  like  that  of  beasts 
in  the  wilderness,  pi  eying  and  feeding  upon  each  other,  each 
devouring  what  it  can— friendships  and  alliances  are  but  tem- 
porary expedients  and  attitudes,  enforced  by  common  inter- 
ests and  suggested  by  need  and  desire.  The  moment  the  ac- 
tual occasion  for  mutual  assistance  has  passed,  the  reason  for  as 
well  as  the  safety  of  the  companionship  has  also  passed.  For 
what  governs  politics  is  never  friendship,  but  only  temporary 
co-operation  and  assistance,  inspired  by  common  threats  or  by 
parallel  hopes  of  gain,  and  supported  by  the  natural  selfishness 
of  each  of  the  allies.  There  is  no  such  thing  as  an  altruistic  al- 
liance. Loyalties  do  not  exist.  And  where  friendship  is  pleaded, 
that  is  only  a  mask.  There  must  be  no  "Union  Now." 

So  it  was  that  Japan,  at  the  beginning  of  the  present  century, 
wooed  and  gained  the  support  of  Britain  to  weaken  Russia  in 
Persia,  in  the  Near  Fast,  and  at  the  Dardanelles.  Then,  in  the 
first  World  War,  Japan  became  the  ally  of  England  and  Russia, 
together  with  France,  in  order  to  drive  Germany  out  of  China 
(Kiaochow)  and  take  possession  of  Germany's  Pacific  islands. 
Whereas  in  the  present  struggle,  Japan  has  become  the  ally  of 
Germany,  has  conquered  France  in  Indo-China,  and  seems  to 
be  seriously  threatening  the  colonial  empire  of  England.  Ap- 
parently the  ancient  Hindu  political  wisdom  of  the  first  mil- 
lennium b.c.  is  still  a  good  key  to  the  political  thinking  of 
Asiatic  peoples. 

It  is  a  remarkably  good  key,  also,  to  international  politics 
throughout  the  world;  for  its  utterly  unmoral,  premoral  point 
of  view  brings  out,  and  formulates  with  the  cold  precision  of  a 
kind  of  political  algebra,  certain  fundamental  natural  laws  that 
govern  political  life,  no  matter  where.  England,  for  example, 
before  the  first  World  War,  discovered  that  she  had  to  ally  her- 


self  with  Russia  to  check  the  rise  of  Germany— even  though 
Russian  and  British  imperialism  were  themselves  at  odds  and 
had  been  in  collision  throughout  the  better  part  of  the  nine- 
teenth century.  From  1933  to  19:58,  on  the  other  hand,  follow- 
ing Hitler's  coming  into  power  and  until  the  Munich  collapse 
of  the  appeasement  policy,  England  tolerated  and  even  favored 
the  rise  of  Nazism  as  a  possible  safeguard  against  the  danger  of 
the  spread  of  Communism  over  Middle  Europe.  After  Munich, 
England  again  sought  alignment  with  Russia— against  what  was 
now  the  Nazi  peril.  And  so  today  [Maieh,  19.12]  we  have  liberal, 
democratic,  capitalistic  England  hand  in  hand  with  Communist 
Russia  against  a  common  foe. 

Such  fluctuations  in  our  modem  international  situation  in- 
dicate that  the  theories  of  politics  evolved  in  Indian  antiquity 
may  be  by  no  means  out  of  date.  They  have  remained  un- 
noticed, largely  because  overshadowed  by  the  world-wide  rep- 
utation of  India's  great  metaphysical  and  religious  philosophies 
of  release— Buddhism,  Vedanta,  and  the  rest;  but  this  does  not 
mean  that  they  could  be  of  no  use  or  interest  to  the  modern 
mind.  It  is  only  in  the  past  few  decades  that  these  hard-headed 
political  doctrines  have  been  brought  to  our  attention,  as  a  re- 
sult of  the  recent  editions  and  translations  by  scholarly  special- 
ists. And  it  appears  that  they  really  might  figure  usefully  among 
the  required  studies  of  the  modern  foreign  service  offices.  Com- 
posed by  astute  B  rah  mans  trained  in  the  complex  formalities  and 
perilous  rituals  of  commerce  with  the  superhuman  powers,  they 
were  intended  for  use  in  a  very  real,  intricate,  and  ruthless  po- 
litical game.  Specifically,  they  were  composed  for  the  guidance 
of  chancellors  and  ministers.  These,  mostly  of  Brahman  extrac- 
tion, were  the  advisers  of  the  Hindu  despots  in  secular  life  as 
well  as  in  their  spiritual  affairs.  They  are  textbooks,  that  is  to 
say,  written  for  and  by  professionals,  and,  as  such,  are  as  tech- 
nical and  thoroughgoing  as  the  handbooks,  or  sutras,8  of  any  of 

8  Cf.  supra,  p.  38,  note  22. 



the  other  Indian  crafts:  carpentry,  medicine,  witchcraft,  priest- 
craft, or  the  dance. 

The  popular  Hindu  tradition  of  the  beast  fables,  which  runs 
parallel  in  doctrine  to  the  more  technical  professional  treatises, 
became  known  to  the  Occident  centuries  ago.  The  vivid  case 
histories— presenting,  under  the  entertaining  guises  of  the  ani- 
mal kingdom,  the  perplexing  situations  and  issues  of  policy  that 
everywhere  confront  kings,  states,  and  private  individuals,  both 
in  the  great  struggle  for  survival  and  in  the  lesser  emergencies 
of  everyday  life— have  been  the  delight  of  many  generations  in 
the  West.  But  their  value  for  the  interpretation  of  current  sit- 
uations, and  for  the  understanding  of  international  politics  in 
general,  has  not  yet  been  realized.  To  the  Hindu  mind,  on  the 
other  hand,  the  pertinence  of  the  beast  fable  to  the  high  art  of 
intrigue  and  defense  has  always  been  apparent. 

The  best  known  collection,  the  Pancatantra,  entered  Europe 
as  early  as  the  thirteenth  century  a.d.  through  the  medium  of 
Semitic  translations  (Arabic  and  Hebrew),  and  finally  became 
known,  as  La  Fontaine  phrases  it,  "en  toutes  les  tongues."  4  But 
the  systematic  Arthasastra  of  Ginakya  Kautilya  was  not  made 
available  until  1909. 1  can  still  remember  vividly  what  a  surpris- 
ing discovery  this  was  for  all  concerned— the  rather  restricted 

*The  Directorium  humanae  vitae,  c.  1270,  was  a  Latin  translation 
made  by  the  Jew,  John  of  Capua,  from  a  Hebrew  version,  which  in  turn 
had  been  translated  from  an  Arabic  translation  of  a  Persian  translation 
from  the  Sanskrit.  An  Old  Spanish  rendering  had  appeared  in  1251, 
taken  from  the  same  Arabic  version.  John  of  Capua's  Latin  was  translated 
into  German  in  the  fifteenth  century  (Das  buck  der  byspel  der  alten 
wysen,  c.  1481),  and  into  Italian  in  the  sixteenth  (A.  F.  Doni,  La  moral 
filosophia,  Venice,  1552).  Sir  Thomas  North  translated  the  Italian  into 
English  (The  Morall  Philosophie  of  Doni,  London,  1570),  and  in  the 
seventeenth  century  numerous  printed  versions  appeared  in  many  tongues. 
La  Fontaine  drew  most  of  the  subjects  of  his  second  volume  of  Fables 
from  the  PaHcatan tra— which  he  describes  in  his  preface  as  "les  fables  de 
Pilpay,  sage  indien." 



circle,  that  is  to  say,  of  scholarly  specialists  in  Europe,  the 
United  States,  and  India.  The  caustic  and  sententious  style, 
literary  facility,  and  intellectual  genius  displayed  do  high  credit 
to  the  master  of  political  devices  who  composed  this  amazing 
treatise.  Much  of  the  material  was  quarried  from  older  sources, 
the  work  being  founded  on  a  rich  tradition  of  earlier  political 
teachings,  which  it  superseded,  but  which  is  still  reflected 
through  its  quotations  and  aphorisms;  and  yet  the  study  as  a 
whole  conveys  the  impression  of  being  the  production  of  a  sin- 
gle, greatly  superior  mind.  We  know  little— or  perhaps  nothing 
—of  the  author.  The  rise  of  Candragupta,  the  lounder  of  the 
Maurya  dynasty,  to  paramount  kingship  over  northern  India 
in  the  third  century  B.C.,  and  the  important  role  of  his  dynasty 
during  the  following  centuries,  have  contributed  a  practically 
impenetrable  glow  ol  legend  to  the  lame  of  the  fabled  chancellor, 
Kautilya,  whose  art  is  supposed  to  ha\c  brought  the  whole 
historical  period  into  being.6 


The  Tyrant  State 

When  we  review  the  theories  and  devices  of  the  Hindu  mas- 
ter statesman,  we  behold  the  ancient  style  of  despotism  in  all  its 
power  and  weakness,  and  begin  to  understand  something  of  the 

8  Cf.  supra,  p.  37,  and  Appendix  B.  For  a  history  of  this  period,  cf.  Sir 
George  Dunbar,  A  History  of  India,  from  the  earliest  times  to  the  present 
day,  2nd  edition,  London,  1939,  pp.  35-57,  "The  Maurya  Empire." 

Kautilya  is  one  of  the  very  few  historical  individuals  who  have  been 


sinister  backgrounds  of  the  Indian  political  scene:  the  ever- 
recurrent  tragedy,  the  constant  perils  of  the  individual,  the 
total  lack  of  security,  and  the  absence  of  all  those  rights  which 
we  cherish  today  as  pertaining  to  our  basic  human  freedom. 
The  world  depicted  was  that  of  the  lonely  monarch-dictator, 
supported  by  a  vast  and  costly  military  machine  and  a  monstrous 
system  of  secret  espionage  and  police— which  included  inform- 
ants, prostitutes,  sycophants,  thugs,  sham  ascetics,  and  profes- 
sional poisoners;  a  terrible  organization  of  despotism  similar  to 
that  described  by  the  Greek  historians  in  their  accounts  of  the 
15asileus  of  ancient  Persia,  "the  King  of  Kings." 

For  it  was  the  empire  of  Persia— as  established  by  Cyrus  the 
Great  (550-529  B.C.).  and  as  carried  on  magnificently  until  its 
sudden  collapse  when  Darius  ITI  (336-330)  was  defeated  by 
Alexander  the  Great— that  set  the  model  for  the  monarchies  in 
neighboring  India.0  Persia  was  the  first  state  in  history  to  bring 
kingship  to  an  absolute,  unquestionable,  and  overwhelming 
position  of  power  through  sheer  military  might.  Within  three 
generations— from  Cyrus  through  Cambyscs  to  Darius  I  (521- 
j86) — the  armies  of  the  Persians  shattered  all  of  the  known  an- 
cient kingdoms  in  e\ery  direction  (civilizations  of  highly  diver- 
gent charactei),  so  that  the  tyrant's  control  soon  extended  from 
the  Black  Sea  and  the  Caucasus  in  the  north,  southward  to  the 
mouth  of  the  Tigris  and  Euphrates  and  even  into  Egypt,  and 
from  Syria  and  Asia  Minor  in  the  west,  eastward  through 
Afghanistan  to  the  Indus  Valley  and  into  India  proper.  No  such 

immortalized  in  Indian  poetry.  He  appears  in  the  Mudraraksasa,  a  play 
of  seven  acts  by  Visakhadatta  (of  the  fifth,  eighth,  or  ninth  century  a.d.), 
the  subject  of  which  is  the  rooting  out  of  the  Nanda  dynasty  by  Kautilya, 
and  his  winning  over  of  the  Nanda  chancellor,  Raksasa,  to  the  cause  of 
his  own  royal  protege",  Candragupta.  There  is  an  English  translation  by 
H.  H.  Wilson,  Works,  London,  1871,  Vol.  XII,  pp.  125ft. 

n  Note  that  the  period  about  to  be  described  is  that  following  the  early 
Indo  Aryan  feudal  age  of  the  Vedas,  Brahmanas,  the  Upanisads.  Cf.  supra, 
p.  8,  Editor's  note,  and  Appendix  B. 



forcible  unification  of  peoples  had  ever  been  achieved  before. 
An  astounding  variety  of  independently  flourishing  populations 
was  conquered  and  forcibly  knit  into  that  single,  mighty,  brutal 
system.  The  army,  which  was  second  to  none  in  the  world,  laid 
low  whatever  stood  in  its  way,  until  it  came  against  the  rugged 
Scythians  north  of  the  Dardanelles  and  the  stout  Greeks  fight- 
ing in  the  heart  of  their  homeland.  All  the  other  domains 
within  reach  were  reduced  to  the  status  of  mere  provinces  under 
the  hard  control  of  the  single  Basileus. 

This  frightening  super-king,  dwelling  in  his  sunlikc.  glor- 
ious capital,  Persepolis,  was  described  as  having  his  "eyes  and 
ears  everywhere"— which  meant  simply  that  his  unnumbered 
spies  and  secret  agents  were  on  the  alert  throughout  the  empire, 
to  watch  and  inform  upon  the  enslaved  populations  (peoples  of 
numerous  faiths,  languages,  and  races,  multitudinous,  and  di- 
vided among  themselves).  A  complex,  efficient  system  of  inform- 
ants, denouncers,  and  plain-clothes  men— making  use  also  of 
the  demimonde  and  the  underworld— covered  the  conquered 
provinces  with  a  close  and  inescapable  network.  The  frontiers 
and  roads  of  entry  were  controlled  by  a  passport  service,  while 
all  travelers  and  political  ambassadors  within  the  realm  were 
strictly  supervised.  Vigilance  of  this  kind  was  absolutely  neces- 
sary to  uphold  the  achievements  won  through  sheer  violence; 
the  forced  unification  of  the  whole  of  Near  Eastern  Asia  could 
be  maintained  only  by  a  crushing,  suspicious,  ruthless  admin- 
istration. Secret  agents  were  delegated  to  shadow  even  the  high 
officials  of  the  government. 

All  of  which  sounds  ominously  familiar;  for  today  we  arc 
being  reintroduced  to  such  things  by  the  reports  that  are  com- 
ing steadily  from  within  the  new  tyrant  stales  of  Europe  and 
Asia.  Indeed,  anyone  who  may  wish  to  visualize  and  under- 
stand the  actual  historical  model  on  which  the  philosophy  of 
Kaufilya's  Arthaiastra  was  based  would  do  well  to  study  the 


world-picture  of  the  modern  day— as  well  as  that  ancient  Persian 
prototype,  of  which  the  dynasties  in  India  (rising,  spreading 
and  collapsing,  towering  and  vanishing  into  dust)  were  the 
faithful  copies.  Furthermore,  such  a  consideration  would  facili- 
tate one's  understanding  of  the  basic  tendency  of  escape  from 
secular  life  which  characterizes  the  tradition  of  classic  Indian 
thought— the  holy  way  of  moksa  '—the  serious  search  for  release 
from  the  perils  and  pains  of  earthly  bondage,  through  the  at- 
tainment of  some  kind  of  metaphysical  equanimity. 

The  records  of  the  Buddhists  and  Jainas  make  it  possible  to 
study  the  state  of  India  in  the  sixth  and  fifth  centuries  B.C.  At 
that  time  the  political  structures  of  the  Aryan  feudal  period 
were  disintegrating,  thus  leaving  the  way  open  for  the  develop- 
ment of  the  harsher  Persian  style.  The  pattern  can  be  compared 
to  that  of  the  late  and  declining  medievalism  of  the  fifteenth 
century  in  Italy  and  Germany:  a  flowering  chaos  of  petty  prin- 
cipalities and  free  cities,  all  vying  with  each  other  jealously, 
desperately  fighting  for  survival  and  struggling  for  ascendancy, 
most  of  them  doomed  to  become  absorbed  or  subordinated  in 
the  end  by  larger,  rising  states,  governed  by  uncontrollable 
inonarchs.  In  the  period  immediately  preceding  the  day  of 
Kautilya,  this  stage  of  enforced  unification  seems  to  have  been 
practically  completed— at  least  for  the  northern  part  of  India— 
under  the  Nanda  dynasty,  which  it  was  to  be  his  great  achieve- 
ment to  overthrow.  The  model  of  the  Persian  techniques  for 
the  reduction  of  extensive  areas  of  formerly  independent  peo- 
ples and  the  shaping  of  them  into  helpless  provinces,  the  sowing 
of  suspicion  and  mutual  distrust  among  them,  disarmament  of 
the  conquered  populations  and  the  induction  of  their  manhood 
into  the  tyrant's  army  to  serve  in  distant  fields,  all  had  already 
become  fundamental  to  the  new  Indian  conception  of  state- 
craft and  social  discipline.  The  much  older,  native  Indian  ideal 

7  For  a  discussion  of  this  term,  cf.  supra,  p.  41. 


of  the  "divine  world-emperor"  (cakravarlin) '  was  to  be  girded, 
so  to  say,  with  the  up-to-date  instruments  o£  aggressive  militar- 
ism, and  coarsely  parodied  through  the  crushing  administration 
of  conquered  lands. 

The  official  art  of  Kautilya's  Maurya  dynasty,  as  represented 
by  the  monuments  of  King  Asoka's  reign  (273-232  B.C.),  bears 
witness  to  the  influence  of  the  Persian  style  (Plate  I).  Such  an 
art,  in  spite  of  its  ironology,  has  no  real  flavor  of  the  reli- 
gious; it  is  an  art  of  pomp,  secular  display,  and  success.  For  in 
terms  of  the  new  Persian  type  of  Indian  despotism,  kingship 
lacked  the  idea  of  sanctity,  the  idea  of  a  divine  mandate  bestowed 
by  the  gods  on  the  bearer  of  the  crown;  rather,  the  state  was  a 
demonstration  and  reflex  of  the  personal  power  of  the  king  him- 
self—a prodigious  unification  of  disparate  regions  by  a  steel-hard 
central  tyranny,  in  perpetual  danger  of  disintegration.  What  it 
required— and  all  that  it  required— to  survive  was  a  kind  of  super- 
man in  the  seat  of  control,  a  superdemon,  who,  by  superior  talent, 
intellect,  and  cunning,  could  keep  the  whole  impossibly  intri- 
cate machine  running  at  the  peak  of  power. 

This  remained  the  post-feudal  Indian  view,  even  though  in 
Persia  a  new  touch  was  added  by  Darius  I  (521-486  B.C.),  when 
he  restored  the  dynasty  after  Cambyses'  death  and  the  conspiracy 
of  Pseudo-Smerdis  and  the  Magians,  in  the  year  52 1.  Darius  made 
bold  to  claim  a  divine  mandate  for  himself  and  his  reign.  He  is 
represented  in  an  inscription  carved  on  a  cliff  at  Behistun  stand- 
ing triumphant  over  his  enemies  and  receiving  the  divine  sup- 
port of  the  highest  Persian  god,  Ahura-Mazda.  This  was  bold,  and 
yet  not  quite  a  new  thing  either;  for  it  followed  the  precedent 
of  an  ageless,  practically  universal  world  tradition.  The  Chinese 
emperor,  for  example,  had  for  centuries  been  styled  "The  Son 
of  Heaven"  (t'ien-tse),  and  was  supposed  to  embody  not  only  the 

•  Infra,  pp.  187-139.  Cf.  also  Ananda  K.  Coomaraswamy,  Spiritual  Author- 
ity and  Temporal  Power  in  the  Indian  Theory  of  Government,  New  Haven, 



royal  but  also  the  priestly  principle.  He  was  the  mediator  between 
heaven  and  earth.  And  should  his  dominion  suffer  from  defeat, 
famine,  or  corruption  and  himself  be  overthrown,  his  fall  was  to 
be  interpieted  as  a  sign  that  heaven  (t'ien)  had  withdrawn  its 
mandate,  dissatisfied  because  of  some  personal  deficiency  in  the 
higher  virtues.  The  usurper  who  then  managed  to  establish  the 
new  dynasty  obviously  drew  to  his  own  house  the  heavenly  favor 
and  bore  the  Heavenly  Mandate  (t'ien  ming)  on  his  victorious 

The  heads  of  the  later  Hindu  kings  lacked  this  light  of  glory. 
Not  the  supreme  Lord  of  the  World  but  only  the  goddess  of 
fortune,  Fortuna,  Sri  I^aksml,  a  fickle  and  comparatively  weak 
divinity,  was  regarded  as  their  guarantor  of  success  and  continued 
rule.  And  she  forsook  her  favorite  the  moment  fate  (daivam)  left 
him  in  the  lurch.  Temporarily  she  was  incarnate  in  the  king's 
supreme  queen,  so  long  as  any  reason  for  the  connection  lasted, 
but  if  he  dallied  away  his  prosperity  in  self-indulgence,  or  fell 
victim  to  some  mightier  rival,  she  withdrew— reluctantly  and  in 
tears— to  bestow  her  favors  on  her  next  crowned  fondling.  Sri 
Laksmi  had  nothing  to  do  with  virtue,  but  only  with  politics  and 
the  turn  of  the  wheel  of  time.  The  philosophy  of  life  of  the 
Hindu  kings  and  chancellors  was  fatalistic,  skeptical,  and  un- 
regenerately  realistic. 

Valor  against  Time 

There  is  an  age-long  argument  that  comes  down  through  the 
Hindu  literature  of  ail  eras,  from  the  feudal  period,  as  repre- 
sented in  the  Mahabharata,  to  the  works  of  comparatively  mod- 



em  Hinduism.  Which  (it  is  asked)  is  the  more  potent,  the  finally 
decisive  factor  in  life's  ceaseless  struggle  for  survival  and  success, 
personal  valor  or  the  simple,  fatal  turn  of  time? '  Those  who 
speak  for  the  former— virya,  that  dauntless  prowess  and  endur- 
ance of  the  hero  who  never  yields  but  battles  through  and  out- 
lives all  reversals,  never  is  downed  but  has  the  fortitude  to  rise 
again,  and  thus  ultimately  masters  stubborn,  stony,  merciless  fate 
—maintain  that  valor  in  the  end  prevails;  and  this  argument  is 
used  against  the  weakling  who  becomes  disheartened,  life's  exile 
who  gives  in,  the  craven  who  resigns  and  abandons  the  game.  We 
delect  in  this  view  of  life  and  destiny  something  of  the  British 
bulldog  attitude,  though  without  the  Christian  belie!  that  the 
right  cause  will  prevail,  and  that  a  humble  acceptance  of  one's 
own  sufferings  as  punishment  for  shortcomings  and  faults  will 
have  redeeming  power. 

The  opposite  argument  is  one  of  blank  fatalism,  based  on  sad 
and  long  experience.  Many  of  the  most  valorous  fighters  in  the 
course  of  history,  it  is  declared,  have  failed,  time  and  time  again. 
Brave  men  have  lought  in  vain,  to  the  last  stroke,  against  rising 
tides  that  have  swept  all  away,  while  men  of  comparatively  liitle 
valor,  delighted  by  all  the  blandishments  of  Fortune,  have  sat 
proudly  and  safely  in  the  seat  of  the  hero.  For  in  history  there 
are  times  and  tides.  There  are  mounting  periods,  when  everything 
supports  the  hero-conqueror.  He  rides  the  wave.  His  very  faults 
and  deficiencies  turn  to  his  advantage.  No  reversal  can  break  his 
career.  And  his  enemies,  though  great  with  valor  and  backed  by 
superior  resources,  struggle  in  vain  to  halt  his  triumphant  march. 
"Time"  (kala),  the  supreme  power,  favors  him— that  is  all.  But 
time  proceeds  in  cycles,  now  expanding,  now  contracting.  The 
hero's  career  only  happens  to  coincide  with  a  period  of  increase. 

The  gods— so  runs  this  hopeless  argument— in  their  battle  with 
the  anti-gods,  gained  the  victory,  not  because  of  valor,  not  by 
cunning  or  by  the  craft  of  their  all-knowing  Brahman-priest  ad- 

"Cf.  Mahabharata  12.  25;  13.  6;  and  passim. 


visers,  but  only  because  time  favored  them.  The  moment  arrived 
for  the  gods  to  crush  their  enemies  and  gain  the  dominion  of  the 
universe,  and  this  carried  them  to  their  lofty  seats.  But  time  re- 
volves, and  they  will  in  time  be  swept  away.  Borne  from  glory 
into  exile,  they  will  then  be  the  ones  filled  with  impotent  rage, 
while  the  demons,  triumphant  now,  set  up  their  own  ungodly 

No  one  can  battle  time.  Its  tides  are  mysterious.  One  must 
learn  to  accept  them  and  submit  to  their  unalterable  rhythm.  So 
it  was  that  when  divine  Krsna  became  incarnate  on  earth  and 
gave  support  to  his  kingly  human  friend  Arjuna,  the  latter  was 
filled  with  superhuman  power  and  seemed  a  hero  whom  no  one 
could  overcome.  But  the  moment  the  divine  friend  mysteriously 
withdrew,  returning  from  this  human  plane  to  his  supermundane 
abode,  then  everything  changed  in  the  history  of  the  king.  No 
valor  availed.  A  mere  tribe  of  wild  herdsmen,  non-Aryan  out- 
casts and  forest-dwellers,  armed  with  nothing  more  than  wooden 
clubs  and  clods  of  clay,  carried  off  the  widowed  queens  of  Krsna, 
entrusted  to  Arjuna's  care,  and  the  once  invincible  warrior  was 
unable  to  stop  the  rape  and  defilement  of  the  noble  ladies.  Time 
(kala)  had  turned— that  mysterious  stream  from  the  waters  of 
which  all  things  appear,  and  on  whose  surface  they  ride  until 
engulfed  again,  to  be  swept  away  in  an  unfeeling,  reeling,  in- 
discriminate flood. 

Thus  runs  this  classic  argument.  No  decision  has  been  reached 
in  India  between  the  champions  of  the  two  sides— those  who  ac- 
cept the  decrees  of  time  or  destiny  with  a  fatalistic  mysticism, 
and  those  who  stand  for  the  effectuality  of  valor.  Both  agree, 
however,  that  the  gods  are  in  no  better  position  with  respect  to 
these  two  determinative  forces  than  the  kings  of  men,  or  than 
individuals  in  general. 

Daivam,  the  Sanskrit  word  for  "fate,"  is  an  adjective  that  has 
become  a  noun,  meaning  properly  "that  which  pertains  to,  that 
which  is  related  to,  the  gods  {deva)."  It  denotes  a  sexless,  anony- 


mous  power  or  factor  that  is  divine;  a  neuter;  the  "godly  essence" 
which  is  a  transcendent  force  antecedent  both  to  such  mythical 
personifications  as  the  gods  themselves  and  to  all  god-wrought 
events.  Daivam,  "fate,"  cannot  be  personified,  brought  down  to 
the  scale  of  the  human  imagination;  neither  can  it  be  reached 
by  prayer,  oblation,  or  magic  spell.  Daivam  is  that  stony  face  of 
life  which  must  be  confronted  when  the  comforting  illusion  of 
the  magic  mythological  tradition,  the  consolation  of  devotional 
religion,  has  been  outgrown;  when  at  last  it  is  realized  what  a 
little  day  is  that  of  the  victory  of  human  arms.  An  acceptance, 
sober  and  brave, of  man's  position  against  this  mighty  background 
is  then  required,  (here  being  no  longer  any  screening,  comfort- 
ing ideals:  neither  gods  strong  enough  to  defend  us,  nor  satisfying 
illusions  about  the  nature  of  the  community— illusions,  for  ex- 
ample, of  the  nation  surviving  through  the  sacrifice  and  surren- 
der of  the  individual,  or  through  the  sacrifice  of  a  generation,  or 
such  flattering  notions  as  those  of  supremely  valuable  institutions 
and  ideals  that  will  outlive  the  doom  of  the  period  and  the  per- 
sonal disaster  of  the  individual  sacrificed  for  their  survival. 

A  lonely  beast  of  prey,  a  wounded  lion  in  its  den,  forsaken  by 
fortune  and  his  fellows,  the  Hindu  king,  no  matter  what  his  for- 
tune, is  doomed  to  die  an  exile  in  the  jungle.  Fame  will  scarcely 
outlive  his  brief  career.  His  life-spark,  his  personal  soul  (jlva) 
will  go  on,  in  the  vortex  of  rebirth,  to  subsequent  embodiments, 
in  the  heavens  or  hells— most  likely  hells;  and  after  the  interlude 
of  that  yonder-life  he  will  be  born  again,  as  man  or  beast.  He 
may  aspiTe  to  kingship  again,  go  through  the  same  struggle,  the 
same  cycle,  thrilled  in  turn  by  the  anxieties  and  the  merciless 
triumphs,  shaken  by  foreboding,  submitting  finally  to  doom- 
rising  like  a  rocket,  falling  like  a  star,  and  all  the  while  oblivious 
of  the  fact  that  he  has  experienced  this  thing  many  times  before. 
He  will  empty  once  again  this  cup  of  life  to  the  last  drop,  in 
gluttony  and  disgust,  in  surfeit  and  misery,  without  understand- 
ing the  elementary  trick— namely  that  it  was  himself  who  mixed 



the  ingredients  through  his  deeds  and  desires  in  former  exist- 
ences, and  that  now  again  he  is  preparing  his  own  future. 

The  situation  of  the  Hindu  despot  forsaken  by  Fortune  (sri), 
crushed  by  Fate  (daivain),  engulfed  by  Time  (kula),  is  like  that  of 
Napoleon  on  the  rocks  at  Saint  Helena.  And  there  is  an  apposite 
remark  of  the  Little  Corsican  on  destiny  and  fortune,  which 
voices  an  attitude  strikingly  similar  to  that  of  the  Hindu.  At  the 
period  of  the  climax  of  his  rocketlike  career,  in  1810,  when  he 
was  still  on  tolerable  terms  with  Russia,  there  was  held  a  con- 
gress of  kings  and  princes  in  the  heart  of  Germany,  at  Erfurt  in 
the  Duchy  of  Weimar,  over  which  Napoleon  presided.  The  glam- 
our of  the  gathering  was  reflected  in  a  remark  that  his  master  of 
ceremonies,  the  Count  Segur,  one  day  used  as  an  excuse  for  arriv- 
ing late  to  a  meeting  of  his  emperor's  privy  council:  he  had  had 
difficulties  making  his  way  through  the  antichamber,  he  declared, 
for  it  was  so  crowded  with  kings:  "11  y  avail  tant  de  rois!"  Al 
the  conclusion  of  the  congress,  when  Napoleon  was  departing 
from  this  spectacular  pageant,  his  host,  the  Duke  of  Saxe-Wei- 
mar,  brave  Charles  Augustus,  the  friend  and  protector  of  Goethe, 
was  standing  at  the  door  of  the  imperial  carriage  to  see  the  em- 
peror away.  And  when  the  host  wished  good  luck  to  his  departing 
overlord,  whom  he  heartily  disliked,  Napoleon,  now  inside  the 
carriage,  practically  rebuked  him  for  his  levity  by  replying  that 
in  the  career  of  a  man  of  destiny,  like  himself,  there  was  a  time 
when  nothing  could  stop  his  rise,  but  then,  unawares,  there  might 
come  a  turn  when  all  was  changed,  whereupon  a  straw  tossed  by 
a  child  would  suffice  for  his  fall.  This  was  a  haughty  rejection 
of  the  concept  of  an  accidental,  personal  "luck'*  (the  power  of 
Fortuna,  fortune,  hi)  for  such  men  as  he,  and  a  cryptic  pro- 
nouncement pointing  to  the  vast  impersonal  destiny  of  the  stars.10 

10  This  idea  of  the  stars  or  "the  star"  that  presides  over  the  hero-career 

is  one  that  has  been  common  in  the  West  since  the  Renaissance.  The 

humanists  of  that  progressive  time  revived  Greco-Roman  astrology  for  the 

sake  of  those  freethinkers  who  had  just  discarded  the  authority  of  the 



No  doubt  Napoleon's  hint  of  the  stars  was  only  a  metaphor 
suggesting  Fate— not  referring,  specifically,  to  the  questionable 
matter  of  stellar  influence;  in  which  case  the  words  of  the  great 
adventurer  and  man  <>1  destiny  would  seem  to  be  lairly  consistent 
with  the  Hindu  view  of  the  tides  and  cycles  that  bear  the  strong 
to  victory  and  then  turn  to  disaster.  One  must  remark,  however, 
a  certain  important  difference.  The  political  genius  or  master 
gambler  in  the  West  feels  himself  to  be  an  instrument  of  some- 
thing higher,  during  those  moments  when  he  seems  to  be  figur- 
ing as  a  fatal  force  in  history.  He  is  incarnate  Fate,  a  carrier  of 
the  powers  that  govern  the  growth  of  civilization  and  effect  its 
epochal  changes.  He  is  the  protagonist  of  certain  social  forces,  or 
the  chief  representative  of  the  spirit  and  ideals  of  a  new  and 
better  age,  carrying  into  history  high  principles  for  which  earlier 
martyrs  have  suffered,  fought,  and  died:  such  principles,  for  ex- 
ample, as  those  of  liberty,  democracy,  and  the  rationalization  of 
human  affairs,  which  inspired  the  seizure  of  power  by  the  Third 
Estate  in  the  French  Revolution.  Apparently  the  Western  man 
of  action  has  to  regard  himself  as  the  noble  instrument  of  a  mys- 
terious plan  for  the  history  of  mankind,  the  arm  of  (he  univeisal 
spirit,  working  changes  and  driving  forward  evolution.  In  this 
respect,  even  such  an  unbeliever  and  atheist  as  Napoleon— who 
had  no  belief  but  in  his  own  "star,"  his  own  genius— directly  sides 
with  those  who  remain  embedded  in  some  established  faith  and 
fight  "God's  War"  in  their  revolutions— men  such  as  Cromwell, 
who  humbly  regarded  himself  as  God's  chosen  vessel  and  the 
instrument  elect  of  Providence,  upholding  true  Christianity 
against  popery,  the  Inquisition,  the  Jesuits,  and  whatever  else 

Church  and  Revelation  and  were  now  being  "modern"  after  the  Roman 
fashion  of  the  period  of  Horace  and  Tiberius.  Astrology  was  introduced 
into  Rome  at  the  time  of  the  first  emperors,  as  a  fascinating  fad  of 
Sumero-Babylonian  origin.  It  has  never  played  any  great  role  in  shaping 
the  Indian  philosophy  of  fate— the  fate  of  kings  and  despots— even  though 
there  is  much  horoscope-casting  in  India  and  a  daily  use  of  astrology. 


he  chose  to  consider  to  be  the  devilish  distortion  (as  he  was  not) 
of  Christ's  true  message.  Napoleon  was  carrying  into  effect  forci- 
bly the  mandate  of  modern  thought,  as  created  by  Locke,  Mon- 
tesquieu, Voltaire,  and  Rousseau,  and  as  sounded  forth  in  the 
"Eroica"  of  Beethoven.  He  was  the  deputy  of  the  New  Age.  So 
we  regard  him,  and  so  we  value  him,  in  our  Western  view  of  the 
progress  (through  ourselves)  of  the  destiny  of  man. 

No  such  mandate  from  Providence,  history,  or  mankind  de- 
scends to  form  a  wreath  around  the  head  of  the  Hindu  despot. 
He  is  the  actual  temporary  holder  of  despotic  power,  but  not 
borne  on  by  the  mission  of  a  new  idea,  some  new  dream  of  human 
affairs  with  which  his  age  is  pregnant  and  which  he  fancies  him- 
self as  chosen  to  bring  into  the  world.  He  stands  merely  for 
himself— himself  and  those  whom  he  can  pay  or  bribe,  gain  with 
favor,  or  threaten  and  bully  into  his  service.  And  when  he  falls, 
it  is  simply  he  who  falls— together  with  those  who  depended  on 
his  rule  or  misrule.  Thus  in  India  kingship  lacks  the  prestige  of 
divine  right  by  which  it  has  been  supported  elsewhere,  both  in 
Asia  and  in  Europe.  Sanctity  such  as  pertains  to  the  Chinese  Son 
of  Heaven,  the  Mikado  of  Japan,  the  Pharaoh  of  Egypt,  and  the 
royal  head  of  the  Anglican  church,  is  attributed  in  India  not  to 
the  members  of  the  Ksatriya  caste— warriors,  kings,  aristocrat- 
adventurers,  and  conquerors— but  to  the  Brahmans:  the  priests, 
the  sages,  the  knowers  and  conjurers  of  the  transcendental  Brah- 
man. For  millenniums  the  summit  of  the  Hindu  social  pyramid 
has  been  occupied  by  those  born  inheritors  of  the  secret  wisdom 
of  the  Holy  Power.  They,  the  living  repositories  of  tradition,  the 
professional  wizards  and  teachers,  are  the  depersonalized  inter- 
mediators between  the  divine  zones  of  power  and  the  human 
world.  But  as  for  kings  (il  y  avail  tant  de  rois!):  their  valor,  their 
fate,  their  agony,  is  their  own. 



The  Function  of  Treachery 

Kings,  from  the  beginning  of  Hindu  history,  as  we  learn  from 
the  Vedic  records  and  all  the  records  since,  have  always  ranked 
below  the  caste  of  the  Brahmans.  During  the  Vedic  period  and 
the  ensuing  feudal  age  represented  in  the  Mahabharata  they 
stemmed  largely  from  the  warrior  clans,  the  families  of  Ksatriya 
caste,  but  following  the  disintegration  of  feudal  society  in  the 
seventh  and  sixth  centuries  B.C.,  when  the  strength  of  the  Aryan 
Ksatriyas  was  greatly  diminished  as  a  result  of  incessant  inter- 
necine warfare  and  their  power  over  northern  India  broken, 
there  came  the  dark  age  that  we  have  been  describing,  during 
which  men  of  various  extractions  came  into  power— both  the 
scions  of  some  of  the  surviving  pre-Aryan  regal  families,  and  sol- 
diers of  fortune  of  inferior  birth.  We  know,  for  example,  that 
Candragupta  was  an  adherent  of  a  non-Vedic  creed  (that  of  the 
Jainas),  the  roots  of  which  go  back  to  pre-Aryan  beliefs  in  north- 
western India  which  had  never  been  quite  eradicated  by  the 
Brahmans."  And  many  of  the  founders  of  new  dynasties  were 
little  better,  apparently,  than  desperadoes.  The  Brahman  records 
complain  in  no  uncertain  terms  that  adventurers  of  the  lowest 
origin  were  to  be  found  holding  thrones  in  the  new  age  of 
disorder,  and  that  there  were  kings  who  did  not  support  the 
Brahmans,  the  Aryan  religion,  or  even  the  Aryan  style  of  life. 
Kingship  had  forfeited  the  splendor  of  the  Vedic  past  when  the 
rulers  had  been  lavish  in  their  subservience  to  the  priest-caste 
and  had  received  in  turn  the  reflection  of  orthodox  approval. 
But  kingship  lacked  also  the  glory  of  the  still  more  remote  days 

11  Cf.  supra,  p.  60,  Editor's  note,  and  infra,  pp.  i8iff. 


of  the  half  mythical  prc-Aryan,  Dravidian  period,  when  the  royal 
clans  of  the  land  had  claimed  descent  from  gods  and  were  said 
to  be  of  the  "solar"  dynasty  or  of  the  "lunar"  dynasty.12  Kingship 
in  the  new,  dark,  miserable,  evil  age  of  the  so-called  Kali  Yuga, 
the  last  and  worst  of  the  four  World  Ages  of  the  present  cycle 
of  time,13  had  assumed  the  vulgar  traits  of  common  despotism. 
Whatever  once  had  been  its  spiritual  dignity  was  gone.  The 
power  abided  only  with  the  strong,  the  cunning,  the  daring,  and 
the  reckless— those  able  to  inspire  greed  and  fear. 

In  post-feudal  India  the  weakness  of  the  ruling  house  derived 
from  the  fact  that  the  king  and  his  dynasty  were  not  firmly  rooted 
in  the  people,  as  are  the  kings  of  England  or  the  mikados  of 
Japan,  or  as  the  emperors  of  Austria  formerly  were.  The  prin- 
ciple of  kingship  in  itself,  as  an  institution,  was  never  questioned. 
It  was  an  unchallengeable  constituent  of  the  divine  plan  of  cre- 
ation, no  less  an  integral  portion  of  the  revealed  social  order  than 
were  the  moral  and  religious  laws,  the  caste  system,  and  the  tra- 
ditional sequence  of  the  four  stages  of  life."  The  institution  it- 
self was  in  accordance  with  dharma,  its  function  being  to  serve 
as  the  instrument  of  dharma.  The  king  was  to  supervise  man- 
kind and  see  that  all  fulfilled  their  ordered  duties  and  life-tasks 
according  to  the  orthodox  prescriptions  for  caste,  age,  and  sex. 
But  though  the  principle  itself,  thus,  was  unquestionable— 

12  As  we  know  from  the  tombs  of  ancient  Sumer  and  of  Egypt,  kings 
in  the  archaic  civilizations  of  the  fourth  to  second  millenniums  b.c.  were 
regarded  as  incarnate  gods.  This  was  the  period,  in  India,  of  the  Dravidian 
civilization.  The  principle  of  divine  kingship  survived  into  later  Indian  his- 
tory in  the  genealogies  of  the  non-Aryan  royal  houses,  where  descent  was 
traced  from  the  Sun  God  and  from  the  Moon  God.  Compare  Japan, 
where  the  Mikado  is  regarded  as  descended  from  the  Sun  Goddess, 
Amaterasu;  and  compare  supra,  p.  104. 

18  For  the  Hindu  theory  of  the  ages  of  the  world,  see  Zimmer,  Myths 
and  Symbols  in  Indian  AH  and  Civilization,  pp.  11-19. 

14  The  four  stages  in  the  biography  of  the  individual:  1.  brahmacdrin, 
*.  grhastha,  3.  vanaprastha,  4.  sannydsin.  Cf.  supra,  p.  44;  infra,  pp.  155-160. 


unquestionable  as  a  basic  law  of  nature  (the  notion  of  a  demo- 
cratic, self-governing  republic  simply  being  outside  the  available 
assortment  of  ideas)— the  actual  individual  or  family  enacting  the 
royal  part  might  be  overthrown  by  a  rival  and  there  would  be 
few  to  care.  Some  neighboring  king  of  equal  rank  might  invade 
the  realm,  or  some  adventurous  upstart  seize  the  throne,  or  per- 
haps the  chancellor  would  grow  weary  of  the  crowned  puppet 
he  was  leading  by  the  strings  and  decide  to  take  to  himself  the 
symbols  of  the  power  that  he  was  already  to  a  large  extent  actu- 
ally wielding.  No  one  would  be  profoundly  concerned  unless 
himself  involved  in  the  dynastic  collapse.  All  that  the  population 
clung  to  was  the  institution.  And  so  the  individual  king,  like 
the  kingly  lion  among  the  other  beasts  of  prey  in  the  jungle,  had 
to  look  out  for  himself. 

Like  the  military  emperors  of  Rome  in  its  period  of  decline, 
or  the  despots  of  Byzantium  throughout  their  dramatic  history, 
the  Indian  kings  had  to  be  constantly  on  the  alert  for  attacks 
from  both  within  and  without,  relying  largely  on  their  military 
strength,  personal  valor,  and  cunning.  Their  principal  trust  had 
to  be  in  the  efficiency  and  loyalty  of  the  officers  whom  they  ele- 
vated to  commanding  positions;  for  any  form  of  government  by 
the  mandate  of  the  people  was  unknown.  People  were  only 
subjects,  busy  with  their  private  struggles  for  life,  divided  into 
groups  and  kept  apart  from  each  other  by  their  rules  of  caste, 
their  numerous  religious  denominations,  and  the  racial  taboos 
of  various  origin  (taboos  against  intermarriage  and  even  contact; 
for  to  some  degree,  one  way  or  another,  the  members  of  the  dif- 
fering castes  were  almost  all  mutually  "untouchable").  There 
was  no  established,  constitutional,  representative  body,  either  to 
check  the  executive  power  and  guard  through  legislation  against 
encroachments  on  the  people's  privileges  by  willful  kings,  or  to 
support  by  general  action  those  kings  of  whom  the  people  ap- 
proved. Theoretically,  the  Indian  ruler  was  supposed  to  heed  the 
advice  of  the  Brahmans  and  old  people  of  the  community;  these 


were  regarded  as  the  voice  of  the  traditional  order.  But  there 
was  no  power  that  could  stop  him  if  he  chose  to  disregard  them. 
If  he  so  wished,  he  could  be  a  wasteful,  ruthless,  selfish  bully, 
overtaxing  and  overburdening  his  tormented  folk.  And  by  the 
same  token,  he  could  expect  no  effective  support  from  them,  no 
matter  how  magnanimous  he  chose  to  be.  His  sole  trust  was  his 
own  mighty  arm,  his  wit,  his  royal  wealth,  and  his  self-interested 

The  mercenaries  had  to  be  lavishly  paid  to  fight  the  king's 
wars,  and  would  desert  him  as  soon  as  his  fortune  failed.  One  lost 
battle  in  ancient  Indian  history  generally  meant  a  kingdom  lost, 
a  dynasty  overthrown.  Intrigue,  conspiracy,  distrust,  treachery, 
were  therefore  the  very  atmosphere  of  the  royal  court.  "Lucky 
those  kings  who  at  night  enjoy  a  quiet,  happy  slumber."  The 
more  efficient  and  powerful  the  favored  officers,  the  less  were 
they  to  be  trusted;  for  they  were  the  ones  who  knew  the  king's 
weaknesses  and  resources;  they  were  the  holders  of  the  keys.  And 
so  it  was  that  high  favor  and  sudden  disgrace,  intimacy  and  sus- 
picion, were  inextricably  joined. 

The  able  minister  lived  in  an  everlasting  dilemma.  He  had 
on  the  one  hand  continually  to  demonstrate  his  efficiency,  but  on 
the  other  to  secure  his  position  against  the  very  monarch  he 
served.  He  had  to  be  on  the  alert  against  calumny  bred  of  envy 
and  the  slightest  failure  on  his  own  part,  but  also  (and  this  was 
always  an  acute  danger)  against  rendering  himself  superfluous 
through  doing  all  too  well.  For  if  he  was  loo  zealous  in  his  work, 
eradicating  without  remainder  the  internal  threats  to  the  do- 
minion of  his  tyrant— those  "thorns"  (kantakas),  as  they  are  called 
in  the  Hindu  works  on  politics,  the  annoyances  that  prick  the 
king  and  discompose  his  royal  ease— then  he  well  might  find  that, 
having  made  himself  dispensable,  he  was  disposed  of.— This 
is  the  theme  of  the  following  instructive  beast  fable  of  the  lion, 
the  mouse,  and  the  cat.16 

10  Hitopadeia  a.  4. 



A  certain  miserable  tomcat,  expelled  by  the  villagers  and  roam- 
ing the  fields  on  the  brink  of  starvation,  gaunt  and  helpless,  was 
encountered  and  rescued  from  its  predicament  by  a  lion;  the 
kingly  beast  invited  the  wretched  one  to  share  his  cave  and  feed 
on  the  leavings  of  his  majestic  meals.  But  this  was  not  an  invita- 
tion inspired  by  altruism  or  any  sense  of  racial  loyalty,  it  was 
simply  that  the  lion  was  being  annoyed  in  his  cave  by  a  mouse 
that  lived  in  a  hole  somewhere;  when  he  took  his  naps,  the  mouse 
would  come  out  and  nibble  at  his  mane.  Mighty  lions  are  un- 
able to  catch  mice;  nimble  cats  however  can;  here  therefore  was 
the  basis  for  a  sound  and  possibly  agreeable  friendship. 

The  mere  presence  of  the  cat  in  the  cave  sufficed  to  keep  the 
mouse  at  bay,  and  so  the  lion  took  his  naps  in  peace.  Not  even 
the  squeaks  of  the  little  nuisance  were  heard,  for  the  cat  was 
continually  on  the  alert.  The  lion  rewarded  him  with  lavish 
courses,  and  the  efficient  minister  grew  fat.  But  then  one  day  the 
mouse  made  a  sound,  and  the  cat  committed  the  elementary 
error  of  catching  and  eating  it.  The  mouse  vanished;  the  favor 
of  the  lion  vanished  too.  Already  tired  of  the  tomcat's  company, 
the  king  of  beasts  ungratefully  turned  his  competent  officer  back 
into  the  fields  and  the  jungle,  where  he  had  to  face  again  the 
peril  of  starvation. 

The  lesson  is  summarized  in  the  concluding  maxim:  "Do  your 
job,  but  always  let  something  remain  to  be  done.  Through  this 
remainder  you  will  remain  indispensable." 

Here  is  one  of  the  many  secrets  of  the  secret  police  of  every 
land— one  of  those  witty  "secrets  that  cannot  be  told."  This  ironic 
tale,  addressed  to  the  astute  ministers  and  other  loyal  servants  of 
the  fickle  Indian  despots,  reveals  the  circumstance  of  the  dictator 
in  the  clutches  of  his  own  Gestapo.  Though  terribly  efficient  at 
tracking  down  the  lurking  enemies,  the  officers  manage  neverthe- 
less to  keep  a  goodly  number  always  in  reserve,  and  thus  ensure 
both  the  security  of  their  dictator  and  the  continued  importance 
of  themselves.  This  is  a  perfectly  natural  thing  for  them  to  do, 


the  world  being  what  it  is;  and  it  has  the  interesting  effect  of 
keeping  alive  under  the  protection  of  the  monarch  whose  "eyes 
and  ears  arc  everywhere"  an  insidious,  self-supporting,  cross- 
fertilizing  process,  by  which  a  continuous  mutual  regeneration 
of  antagonists,  "asking  lor  each  other,"  is  maintained.  The  secret 
police  become  the  principal  support  and  protection  of  the  un 
derground  revolutionaries  whom  it  is  their  function  to  suppress. 
Indeed,  they  are  not  only  the  protection  of  the  op]X>sition  but 
even  its  cause;  for  the  tyrannical  system  that  has  to  rely  for  con- 
tinuance on  a  crushing,  omnipresent  secret  police  inevitably 
breeds,  through  its  brutal  pressures,  new  enemies  from  within, 
every  day.  And  these  subversive  elements,  often  highly  idealistic, 
are  in  turn  under  the  illusion  that  they  are  less  visible  than  they 
really  are.  When  the  ruling  power  breaks,  it  sometimes  happens 
that  the  revolutionaries  find  themselves  justified  in  their  hope 
that  some  day  their  cause  should  prevail— this  much  we  know 
fiom  history;  but  meanwhile,  unconsciously,  through  their  sheer 
budding  into  existence,  they  have  been  warranting  the  precious 
indispensability  of  the  cat  to  the  lion.  Without  mice,  the  officers 
of  the  Gestapo  and  Ogpu  would  be  at  a  loss  to  keep  themselves 
so  terribly  importaut.  And  so  here  again  we  find  that  the  view 
of  political  intrigue  represented  in  the  Hindu  philosophy  of 
statecraft  bears  a  remarkable  pertinence  to  contemporary  affairs. 
The  archaic  teachings  have  a  curiously  modern  ring.  In  Hindu 
foreign  policy,  for  example,  surprise  by  treacherous  assault  and 
sudden  onslaught  was  regarded  as  one  of  the  best  means  of  suc- 
cessful foreign  action,  deep  secrecy  and  perfect  concealment  form- 
ing the  proper  atmosphere  for  the  ripening  of  schemes  and  the 
achievement  of  perfect  preparations.  In  the  political  treatises  we 
find  the  maxim:  "Carry  your  enemy  on  your  shoulder  until  you 
have  got  from  him  what  you  want,  then  throw  him  off— throw 
him  off  and  shatter  him,  like  an  earthen  jar  against  a  rock."" 
Or  again:  "Whoever,  pursuing  his  own  advantage,  intends  to 
18  Mahabharata  12.  140.  18. 



crush  somebody,  should  follow  a  cautious  and  deliberate  pro- 
cedure. When  he  lifts  his  hand,  ready  to  strike  his  enemy,  he 
should  accost  him  in  a  friendly  way.  [That  would  be  Mr.  No- 
mura, in  the  conversational  prelude  to  Pearl  Harborl]  He  should 
address  him  even  more  gently  while  delivering  the  deadly  blow. 
[That  would  be  Mr.  Kurusul]  And  when  he  has  cut  off  his  en- 
emy's head,  he  should  pity  and  bewail  him."17 

The  documents  of  Indian  history  contain  many  examples  of 
the  successful  practice  of  this  maxim.  There  is  the  account,  for 
instance,  of  a  crown  prince  who  proceeded  from  the  capital  in  a 
solemn  march  with  his  army  to  welcome  his  aged  father,  who  was 
returning  crowned  with  victory  following  the  defeat  of  a  power- 
ful neighbor  whose  possessions  he  had  seized.  An  impromptu 
town  with  gorgeous  tents  was  erected  out  on  the  plain  to  comfort 
the  victor  after  the  hardships  of  his  campaign,  and  an  elaborate 
triumphal  edifice  was  set  up,  in  which  he  was  to  celebrate  his 
victory.  But  while  the  king  was  reposing  under  its  massive  beams, 
and  while  the  dutiful  son,  surrounded  by  his  own  strongly  armed 
bodyguard,  was  parading  a  large  company  of  war-elephants  be- 
fore him,  the  stately  structure  collapsed,  and  the  father,  with  all 
his  attendants,  was  buried  in  the  ruin." 

The  lulling  of  an  intended  victim  to  sleep  is  recommended 
not  only  for  inner  policy  (at  the  court  of  the  despot,  or  in  the 
conclaves  of  the  groups  or  parties  where  the  members  wielding 
power  are  purging  rivals)  but  also  for  foreign  affairs  (where  it  is 
a  weapon  second  to  none).  It  is  known  as  maya,  "the  creation  of 
an  illusion."  We  may  study  it  best  in  the  political  history  of  the 
present  day.  Nazi  policy,  for  example,  in  preparation  for  the  over- 
throw of  Poland,  first  inspired  confidence  by  the  non-aggression 
pact  concluded  with  Marshal  Pilsudski  in  1933.  With  that,  Po- 
land was  taken  away  from  her  natural  ally,  France,  and  became 

"lb.  is.  140.  54;  cf.  also  12.  102.  34;  12.  103.  9-13. 
>■  ibn-Tiatuta,  Voyages,  translated  (into  French)  by  C.  Defremery  and  B.  R. 
Sangulnetti,  Paris,  1853,  Vol.  Ill,  pp.  218-213. 


isolated.  Next  the  Poles  were  flattered  by  being  allowed  to  share 
the  spoils  of  crippled  Czechoslovakia,  in  the  fall  of  lagS.following 
the  Munich  crisis.  This  was  nothing  but  the  still  more  friendly 
approach,  preceding  and  screening  the  deadly  blow— which  fell 
like  a  thunderbolt  within  a  year. 

So  too  the  modern  techniques  for  dealing  with  enemies  that 
have  been  overcome;  these  were  already  known  to  the  ancient 
Hindu  masters.  The  modern  conquered  territories  left  to  famine, 
plague,  and  rapine— like  Poland,  the  Ukraine,  Greece,  Norway, 
under  the  Nazi  occupation— illustrate  the  general  law.  "A  sur- 
viving remnant  of  the  enemy,"  we  read,  "is  like  a  remnant  of 
smoldering  fire  or  of  unpaid  debt;  all  three  are  bound  to  in- 
crease with  time."  "  The  defeated  force  is  therefore  to  be  liqui- 
dated: communists  in  Italy  and  Nazi  Germany,  the  bourgeoisie 
in  Russia.  Inconvenient  party  chiefs  and  generals  are  purged 
everywhere;  leftists  and  rightists  crowd  the  prisons  of  the  world. 
This  is  a  merciless  natural  principle  abundantly  exemplified, 
whether  in  the  history  of  India,  the  history  of  bygone  Byzantium 
and  the  Russia  of  Boris  Godunov  and  the  false  Dimitri,  or  in 
the  comparatively  up-to-date  shooting  of  the  last  Czar  with  his 
wife,  son,  and  four  daughters,  in  a  cellar,  when  they  were  sup- 
posed to  be  on  their  way  to  confinement. 

Ancient  Indian  affairs  were  pervaded  by  an  atmosphere  of 
danger,  suspicion,  and  threat.  There  was  waged  a  kind  of  con- 
tinuous white  war  of  nerves.  Precisely  the  same  situation  is  de- 
scribed in  the  biographies  of  the  Roman  emperors  by  Tacitus 
and  Suetonius,  or  in  Gibbon's  Decline  and  Fall  of  the  Roman 
Empire,  as  well  as  in  the  Greek  accounts  of  the  Achaemenids  of 
ancient  Persia,  the  Moslem  records  of  the  caliphates  at  Bagdad, 
Cairo,  and  elsewhere,  and  the  histories  of  Ottoman  power  in 
Constantinople.  It  is  the  atmosphere  that  is  general  today,  par- 
ticularly in  the  sphere  controlled  by  the  totalitarian  states,  as  it 
was  in  that  of  their  numerous  forerunners  and  collaborators 

16  Mahabharata  12.  140.  58. 



from  1918  on:  King  Alexander's  Yugoslavia,  Voldemaras'  Lithu- 
ania, Pilsudski's  Poland,  Kemal  Ataturk's  Turkey,  and  the 
Greece  of  the  general-dictators.  Everyone  feels  always  endan- 
gered. Every  king— utterly  vulnerable  though  armed  to  the  teeth 
—is  watching  constantly  to  forestall  surprise.  No  one  is  fully 
master  of  any  situation  for  any  length  of  time.  Sudden  changes 
bring  death  or  disgrace.  Intrigues  and  murder  from  within, 
intrigues  and  aggression  from  without,  threats  of  surprise,  upset 
the  strong.  Direct,  crushing  blows  annihilate  the  weak.  Maya, 
fratricide,  poison,  and  the  dagger  constitute  the  order  of  the  day. 

Political  Geometry 

Britain's  balance  of  power  policy  will  serve  to  introduce  an- 
other of  the  basic  principles  of  the  Indian  Arthaiastra,  that  of 
the  mandala,  or  political  circles  of  neighbors.  British  statesmen 
have  always  and  everywhere  exhibited  tact  and  skill  in  their  ma- 
nipulation of  this  weapon  of  die  game.  In  order  to  maintain  the 
balance  of  Europe,  when  Louis  XIV  threatened  to  disturb  the 
political  equilibrium  by  putting  his  grandson  on  the  throne  of 
Spain,  Marlborough  (whose  life,  by  the  way,  supplies  several  fine 
examples  of  the  subject  of  our  last  discussion)  brought  England 
into  an  alliance  with  the  Netherlands,  a  number  of  the  German 
states,  Portugal,  Denmark,  and  the  house  of  Hapsburg,  waging 
the  War  of  the  Spanish  Succession  (1701-14)  against  the  threat 
of  the  rising  empire  of  France.  Shortly  after,  in  the  Seven  Years' 
War  (1756-63),  when  France  had  combined  with  Austria,  Rus- 
sia, Sweden,  and  Saxony  against  the  Prussia  of  Frederick  the 
Great,  the  British  threw  their  weight  on  the  side  of  Prussia,  and 
came  off  so  well  in  the  gamble  that  they  shattered  the  French 


world-empire  and  fixed  the  foundations  of  their  own  by  win- 
ning control  oi  both  Canada  and  India.  Then  once  again  Brit- 
ain joined  forces  against  France  when  Napoleon's  campaigns 
were  the  threat,  assisting  Portugal  and  Spain  in  the  Peninsular 
War  (1804-14),  as  well  as  Russia,  Austria,  Prussia,  and  the 
Netherlands  at  Waterloo.  But  the  Crimean  War  (1854-56)  saw 
England  united  with  Fiance  (for  the  first  time  in  some  two 
hundred  years),  together  with  Turkey  and  Savoy,  to  counter- 
balance Russia,  which  now  was  picssing  dangerously  to  the  Dar- 
danelles. Britain  supported  Japan  to  weaken  Russia  in  1903-04, 
but  in  the  first  World  War  was  at  the  side  of  Russia— as  well  as  oE 
France  again— against  the  combination  of  Germany  and  Austria. 

This  remarkable  game  of  weights  and  counterweights  is  one 
that  was  taken  very  seriously  by  the  ancient  kings  and  princes  of 
India.  There  the  battlefield  of  the  contending  powers  was  the 
vast  landscape  of  a  subcontinent  about  the  si/.e  of  Europe  but 
much  less  broken  by  difficult  mountain  ranges.  Though  inter- 
spersed with  treacherous  jungles  and  dcseits,  India's  various 
parts  were  linked  by  broad  rivers  and  far-stretching  plains;  al- 
most every  kingdom  was  surrounded  by  enemy  neighbors  and 
open  to  attack  from  every  side.  There  prevailed,  consequently,  a 
situation  of  perpetual  distrust,  such  as  we  know,  for  example, 
on  the  much  smaller  stage  of  the  Balkans. 

The  principal  Hindu  formula  for  the  arrangement  of  foreign 
alliances  and  coalitions  is  based  on  a  pattern  of  concentric  rings 
of  natural  enemies  and  allies.  Each  king  is  to  regard  his  own 
realm  as  located  at  the  center  of  a  kind  of  target,  surrounded  by 
"rings"  (mandalas)  which  represent,  alternately,  his  natural  en- 
emies and  his  natural  allies.  The  enemies  are  represented  by  the 
first  surrounding  ring:  these  are  his  immediate  neighbors,  all 
alert  to  pounce.  The  second  ring  then  is  that  of  his  natural 
friends,  i.e.,  the  kings  just  to  the  rear  of  his  neighbors,  who 
threaten  them  in  turn  through  the  very  fact  of  being  neighbors. 
Then  beyond  is  a  ring  of  remoter  danger,  interesting  primarily 
as  supplying  reinforcement  to  the  enemies  directly  at  hand.  Fur- 


thermore,  within  each  ring  are  subdhisions  signilying  mutual 
natural  animosities;  tor  since  each  kingdom  has  its  own  mandala, 
an  exceedingly  complicated  set  of  stresses  and  cross-stresses  must 
be  understood  to  exist.  Such  a  plan  of  mutual  encirclement  is  to 
be  cast,  carefully  weighed,  and  then  used  as  a  basis  for  action.  It 
delineates  and  brings  into  manifestation  a  certain  balance  and 
tension  of  natural  powers,  as  well  as  touching  off  periodic,  terrific 
outbursts  of  widely  spreading  conflict.  Taken  for  granted  as  a 
universal  social  principle  is  the  propensity  of  neighbors  to  be 
unfriendly,  jealous,  and  aggressive,  each  biding  his  hour  of  sur- 
prise and  treacherous  assault.20 

This  somewhat  formal  pattern  may  look  to  us  a  bit  theoretical 
and  over-sophisticated,  yet  it  well  reflects  the  geographical  con- 
ditions of  the  Indian  subcontinent.  Also  it  is  amply  warranted 
by  the  modern  history  of  Europe.  It  is  the  basic  figure  of  a  kind 
of  political  geometry  that  can  be  applied  with  few  adjustments 

20  The  science  of  the  mandala  ("the  circle  of  states")  is  discussed  in 
Kautiliya  ArthaSdstra  7. 



to  the  practical  reckoning  of  the  stresses  in  almost  any  historical 
scene— a  really  wonderful  achievement  of  that  Hindu  genius 
which  so  loves  to  indulge  in  highly  abstract  intellectual  exercises, 
yet  at  the  same  time  has  a  conspicuous  gift  for  intuitive  insight, 
symbolic  expression,  and  the  pictorial  language  of  the  parable 
and  the  myth. 

When  applied  to  the  map  of  Europe  the  ancient  Indian 
mandala  supplies  a  perfect  pattern  for  the  issues  and  vicissitudes, 
understandings  and  seeming  misunderstandings,  that  have  un- 
derlain our  almost  incessant  wars.  At  the  opening  of  the  modern 
period,  in  the  sixteenth  century,  France  found  herself  threatened 
with  encirclement  when  Spain  and  the  German  Empire  became 
united  under  the  dynasty  of  the  llapsburgs.  The  subsequent 
struggle  for  hegemony  between  the  French  kings  and  the  em- 
perors in  Vienna— from  the  time  of  Francis  I  (1515-47)  and 
Charles  V  (1519-56)— continued  until  the  dismemberment  of  the 
Austro-Hungarian  Empire  in  the  Treaty  of  Versailles  in  1919- 
Eouis  XIV  (16.13-1715)— that  "most  Christian  king,"  who  perse- 
cuted the  Calvinist  Huguenots  and  expelled  them  from  his  realm 
—secured  the  support  of  the  Mohammedan  Turks  in  the  rear  of 
the  Hapsburg  dominions  in  eastern  Europe,  and  these  then  in- 
vaded the  enemy  territories  from  what  is  now  Yugoslavia,  and 
through  Hungary,  while  the  armies  ol  France  fought  the  German 
Imperial  forces  in  Flanders  and  along  the  Rhine. 

The  neighbor  to  the  rear,  or  at  the  flank,  of  one's  own  neigh- 
bor and  rival  is  the  born  ally:  that  is  the  supreme  principle. 
Moral  and  religious  considerations,  matters  of  ideology,  and 
common  spiritual  tradition  do  not  have  the  force  of  this  simple 
geometrical  fact.  The  Christian  king  did  not  hesitate  to  betray 
and  endanger  the  Christian  civilization  of  Europe  by  inspiring 
and  supporting  an  invasion  by  the  very  power  that  had  been  the 
primary  common  foe  of  Christendom  for  the  past  thousand  years. 
In  precisely  the  same  way,  Nazi  Germany  today  betrays  the 
common  cause  of  Europe,  i.e.,  the  White  Man's  colonial  empire 
and  civilization,  by  its  co-operation  with  Japan's  attempt  to  con- 


quer  the  Far  East  and  the  Pacific.  And  both  or  these  betrayals  of 
the  Christian,  Western  cause  for  selfish  ends  have  a  remarkable 
precedent  and  model  in  an  arrangement  concluded  with  the 
Grand  lurk  by  a  pope.  Anxious  to  preserve  the  political  in- 
dependence of  the  territory  of  the  Holy  See,  Alexander  VI,  su- 
preme shepherd  of  the  Christian  flock,  vicar  of  Christ  on  earth, 
and  the  very  tongue  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  joined  hands,  in  1494, 
with  the  sultan  Bayazid  II,  to  defeat  the  imperial  ambitions  of 
Charles  VIII  of  France.  Half  a  century  later,  Suleiman  the  Mag- 
nificent became  allied  with  the  French  king,  Francis  I,  against 
the  Holy  Roman  Emperor,  Charles  V;  and  the  subsequent  Mos- 
lem advantc  into  eastern  Europe  (a  forerunner  ol  the  one  in 
the  time  of  Louis  XIV)  even  enjoyed  the  tacit  approval  of  Pope 
Paul  III. 

In  the  French  mandala  of  alliances,  when  the  power  of  Tur- 
key began  to  decline,  that  of  rising  Russia  took  its  place,  as  the 
natural  ally  at  the  back  of  the  immediate  neighbor  to  the  cast. 
Napoleon  in  1805  and  1810  accordingly  made  friends  with  the 
emperor  of  Russia,  in  order  to  check  Prussia  and  Austria  (the 
Russian  armies  having  previously  fought  for  years  side  by  side 
with  the  Austrians,  in  Switzerland  and  along  the  Riviera,  in 
their  common  campaign  against  the  French  Revolution  and 
Republic).  Napoleon  also  resurrected  Poland,  as  a  second  ally 
for  himself  at  the  back  of  Germany,  by  restoring  those  portions 
that  had  fallen  to  the  share  of  Austria  and  Prussia  in  the  par- 
titions of  Poland  between  those  powers  and  Russia  at  the  close 
of  the  eighteenth  century.  And  following  the  same  absolutely 
dependable  logic  of  the  mandala,  France  again  won  the  co- 
operation of  Russia  in  her  policy  of  encirclement  just  before 
the  first  World  War— a  classic  pincer  movement  on  the  chessboard 
of  the  powers  that  would  compel  her  immediate  neighbor  to  fight 
a  war  on  two  fronts.  France  at  the  same  time  supported  Serbia 
against  Austria,  as  the  allv  at  Austria's  rear,21  and  then  Romania. 
**  Russia,  too,  supported  Serbia  against  Austria— another  pincer  move- 



as  a  dagger  in  ihe  back  at  the  crucial  hour  when  Germany  had 
Tailed  in  the  Battle  of  Verdun  and  was  suffering  defeat  along  the 
Sommc  sector  of  the  Western  Front.  With  the  Treaty  of  Ver- 
sailles a  comprehensive  mandala  policy  was  inaugurated  by 
fiance  to  hold  the  crushed  enemy  in  check.  A  ring  oi  Slavic 
powers,  from  Poland  and  Czechoslovakia  to  Romania  and  Yugo- 
slavia, was  brought  into  being,  threatening  the  rear  of  Germany 
and  what  was  left  of  Austria.  The  new  allies  weie  provided  with 
loans  for  armament  and  development.  To  which  the  reply  of 
Germany  was  the  Rapallo  Treaty,  in  1922,  with  Russia— a 
natural  ally  now,  to  the  rear  of  "Poland  and  Czechoslovakia. 

Following  the  rise  of  the  Nazis  to  power,  thetc  came  a  quick 
series  of  clever  moves  on  the  mandala  chessboard,  which  ended 
in  a  total  breakdown  of  the  subtle  structure  that  had  been  de- 
signed to  guarantee  France's  hegemony  on  the  continent.  The 
moment  Poland  agreed  to  sign  the  ten-year  non-aggicssion  p;ict. 
in  1933*  the  ring  was  virtually  undone.  Step  by  step,  then,  the 
Eastern  allies  of  France  became  estranged,  and  at  last  even  Bel- 
gium withdrew  from  the  plan  lor  immediate  and  automatic  co- 
operation with  France  against  Germany.  And  so  all  was  ripe  for 
the  new  break  for  power. 

The  next  arrangement  of  the  m.mdala  will  make  itself 
apparent  in  due  time. 

The  Seven  Ways  to  Approach  a  Neighbor 

Nitt,  the  Sanskrit  term  for  policy,  means,  literally,  "proper 
conduct."  The  policy  of  the  king  sets  the  outstanding  model  in 
the  community  for  successful  conduct  amidst  the  perils  of  the 


world.  Though  he  is  supreme  in  the  realm,  he  is  nevertheless 
the  most  in  danger,  in  his  lofty,  enviable,  and  precarious  state  of 
splendor.  Neighboring  kings,  his  own  ambitious  ministers  and 
all  too  successful  generals,  even  the  members  of  his  own  family 
—aspiring  sons  and  princes,  scheming  queens-aTC  on  the  alert 
for  his  throne.  And  last  but  not  least,  the  people,  often  harassed 
and  overtaxed,  may  at  any  time  be  secretly  stirred  to  revolt  by 
some  enemy  king  or  some  personage  of  lower  lineage  ambitious 
to  usurp.  In  such  an  atmosphere  of  threat,  dread,  and  sudden 
moves,  the  matsya-nyaya  prevails,  "the  law  of  the  fish":  -'  the  law 
of  life  unmitigated  by  moral  decency,  as  it  prevails  in  the  merci- 
less deep. 

This  is  a  law  no  less  well  known  to  the  West  than  to  India.  It 
is  phrased  in  the  popular  proverb  of  old  standing,  "The  big  ones 
eat  the  little  ones,"  which  Pieter  Breughel,  the  sixteenth-century 
Flemish  artist,  vividly  illustrated  in  a  number  of  his  lively  and 
humorous  masterpieces.  One  sees  in  these  works  a  multitude  of 
fish  of  every  sort  and  size,  the  little  swallowed  by  the  big  and 
these  caught  in  turn  by  fishermen.  The  bellies  of  the  larger, 
ripped  open  by  the  men,  pour  out  the  smaller,  and  there  is  an  in- 
scription underneath  this  that  gives  the  proverb.  Breughel 
painted  these  canvases  in  a  period  when  the  whole  of  Europe 
was  being  made  a  sea  of  turmoil  by  the  struggle  of  Hapsburg, 
Flanders,  world-ruling  Spain,  and  the  German  Empire  to  restrain 
the  rising  power  of  France,  which  was  trying  to  break  free  from 
the  encirclement  of  that  colossal  coalition.  It  was  an  age  when 
new  weapons  (gunpowder  and  cannon)  as  well  as  a  new  style  of 
warfare  (the  deploying  of  large  companies  of  mercenary  infantry 
instead  of  the  combat  of  knights  on  horseback)  were  spreading 
havoc  and  terror— just  as  the  new  weapons  of  modern  technol- 
ogy are  doing  today.  Breughel's  pictorial  proverbs  display  the  life 
of  the  watery  realm  of  cold-blooded  voraciousness  as  an  apt  ex- 
pression of  the  idea  that  in  the  sphere  of  politics  each  is  out  for 

**  Artkaiaslra  l.  4.  g;  c£.  also  Mahabharala  12.  67.  16-17,  an(*  12-  89-  *l- 


himself  and  feeding  greedily  on  as  many  of  the  others  as  he  can. 
The  idea  is  that  politics  is,  and  forever  must  be,  an  enterprise 
of  battle,  not  a  decent,  orderly  courtroom  affair,  wherein  each 
nation,  group,  or  race  is  reasonably  assigned  its  due  share  of  the 
world,  according  to  its  size,  its  contributions  to  civilization,  and 
its  abilities. 

In  conformity  to  this  same  pessimistic  way  of  understanding 
the  problem  of  life's  war  for  survival,  the  means  and  devices  pro- 
posed in  the  Indian  books  of  politics  arc  without  conscience  or 
regard  for  mercy.  The  four  chief  "means"  (upaya)2S  of  approach 
to  an  enemy,  for  example,  are  the  following: 

1.  Sdman,  "conciliation  or  negotiation."  This  is  the  way  of 
appeasement,  soothing,  or  charming. 

The  snake-charmer  appeases  the  serpent  by  playing  a  melody 
on  a  pipe;  this  soothes  the  dangerous  animal.  Similarly,  the  so- 
called  "wrathful"  or  "terrible"  aspect  of  a  divinity  (who  is 
always  ambivalent  and  may  be  dangerous)  is  charmed,  soothed, 
appeased,  or  propitiated  by  the  magic  melodies  on  the  wings 
of  which  the  holy  incantations  of  magic  stanzas  mount  to  his  in- 
visible abode.  Our  English  "charm"  is  from  the  Latin  carmen, 
"magic  song  to  win  the  grace  of  a  superhuman  being."  And  in 
the  same  spirit,  the  Sanskrit  sdman  literally  means  "melody." 
Sdman  denotes  a  special  branch  of  priestly  learning  in  the  Vedic 
tradition  of  rituals,  which  treats  of  the  melodies  to  which  the 
various  stanzas  (re)  of  the  Rg-veda  must  be  sung.  This  is  a  lore 
loaded  with  magic,  certain  parts  of  it  being  so  dangerous  that 
they  may  not  be  imparted  inside  the  village  boundary;  the  master 
and  pupil  withdraw  to  some  remote  and  lonely  spot  in  the  wil- 
derness. By  singing  magic  charms  of  this  kind  while  holding  in 
his  hands  some  of  the  remainders  of  the  Cosmic  after  it  had 
opened  at  the  beginning  of  the  world  (the  upper  half  of  the  egg 
having  ascended  to  become  the  heavens,  while  the  lower  de- 
scended and  became  the  earth),  Brahma,  the  creator,  conjured 

28  Upaya,  from  the  verb  upa-i,  "to  approach." 


forth  eight  celestial  elephants,  which  then  were  assigned  to  the 
tour  quarters  of  the  world  and  the  four  points  between,  to  stand 
as  supports  for  the  upper  firmament.  Elephants  are  called,  there- 
fore, samodbhava,  "produced  by  soman." 

We  use  saman  every  day  in  meeting  people— when  we  say, 
"Hello!"  "How  do  you  do!"  "So  nice  to  meet  you!"  and  then: 
"Good-bye!"  "Do  come  see  us  soon!"  Saman  in  this  social  con- 
text the  Sanskrit  dictionary  renders:  "gentle  words,  mildness, 
gentleness."  Saman  applied  to  politics  is  translated:  "conciliatory 
or  mild  means,  conciliatory  conduct."  This  would  refer  in  mod- 
ern practice  to  such  devices  as  non-aggression  pacts,  the  prelimi- 
nary talks  about  them,  the  definition  of  respective  spheres  of 
influence  and  exploitation,  and  the  pooling  of  resources. 

2.  The  opposite  pattern  of  approach  i,s  called  danda,  the  rod 
of  punishment— in  the  hand  of  the  judge,  or  of  a  doorman  chas- 
ing beggars  and  street-boys.  Danda  means  "chastisement,  pun- 
ishment, attack,  assault,  violence;  a  cudgel,  stick,  staff;  an  army; 
control,  subjection,  restraint."  "The  king  should  always  keep 
the  rod  of  punishment  (danda)  uplifted  in  his  hand,"  declares 
the  Mahabharala.-1  And  we  read  in  the  book  of  Manu:  "For 
the  increasing  of  a  kingdom,  saman  and  danda  are  the  two 
chief  means."  'a  Briefly:  Danda  is  aggression  of  whatever  kind, 
whether  outright  and  shameless,  or  hypocritically  justified  as 
punishment  for  insult  or  for  a  threatening  attitude.  It  is  an  un- 
bearable insult,  for  example,  if  an  intended  victim  proceeds  to 
armament,  or  strikes  an  alliance  with  some  stronger  neighbor. 

3.  Dana  (Latin  dotmm,  English  "donation"),  "giving,  present, 
gift,"  is  the  third  recommended  approach.  In  politics  this  is  sim- 
ply "bribery."  Dana  includes  arrangements  for  the  division  of 

"Mahabharala  12.  120.  93  and  again,  12.  140.  7.  "A  ling  should  display 
severity  in  making  all  his  subjects  observe  their  respective  duties.  If  this 
is  not  done,  they  will  prowl  like  wolves,  devouring  one  another"  (lb. 
12.  142.  28.).  Cf.  also  the  political  play  Mudraraksasa  1.  15. 

25  Martava  Dhormafaslra  7. 109. 



the  spoils  of  war,  as  well  as  presents,  decorations,  etc.,  for  the 
neighbor's  generals,  ministers,  and  secret  agents. 

4.  Bheda,  "splitting,  dividing,  breach,  rupture,  disturbance, 
sowing  dissension  in  an  enemy's  party,  treachery,  treason."  This 
is  the  technique  of  divide  and  conquer,  of  boring  from  within. 

These  are  the  four  chief  means,  to  which  are  added: 

5.  Maya,  "deceit,  trick,  the  display  of  an  illusion." 

The  god  Indra  displayed  his  maya  when  he  assumed  the  form 
of  an  inoffensive  Brahman  and  appeared  among  the  anti-gods 
or  titans.  These  enemies  of  the  gods  had  built  a  lire-altar  in  the 
form  of  a  pyramid  by  which  they  were  mounting  to  heaven  to 
seize  command  of  the  universe.  The  harmless  Brahman  re- 
moved a  few  bricks  from  the  lowest  level  of  the  towering  struc- 
ture, and  all  the  demons  were  dropped  back  to  the  ground."0 
Another  Vedic  myth  tells  how  the  same  god,  when  pursued  by 
a  company  of  the  titans  who  had  just  defeated  his  forces  in 
battle,  suddenly  assumed  the  shape  of  a  horsehair  and  thus  dis- 
appeared from  view. 

Maya  means  "deceit,  fraud,  any  act  ol  trickery  or  magic,  a 
diplomatic  feat."  Mr.  Kurusu's  diplomatic  mission  to  Washing- 
ton, apparently  for  appeasement,  while  the  Japanese  bombers 
were  on  their  way  to  Pearl  Harbor,  was  not  an  utterly  unfair, 
unprecedented  pla>,  according  to  the  completely  unmoral  code 
of  Indian  and  Far  Eastern  policy,  but  a  classic  stratagem.  The 
fishes  always  attack  and  swallow  each  other  without  warning. 

Maya,  in  diplomacy,  would  also  include  the  wearing  of  the 
mask  of  moral  probity,  religious  righteousness,  and  civilized 
indignation,  which  has  proven  itself  a  powerful  weapon  in  the 
recent  history  of  the  West,  where  the  war  leaders  have  had  to 
draw  support  from  populations  bred  to  philosophies  rather  of 
moral  duty  than  of  unashamed  attack. 

6.  Upeksa,  a  second  minor  device  or  means,  is  that  of  "ovcr- 

w&atapatha  Brahmana  2.  1.  2.  13-16  (Sacred  Books  of  the  East,  Vol.  XII, 
pp.  286-287). 



looking,  taking  no  notice,  taking  no  account  of,  neglecting,  ig- 
noring." England's  attitude  when  Japan  seized  Manchuria, 
Mussolini  Ethiopia,  and  Hitler  Austria  was  that  of  ujiclud: 
pretending  to  be  unconcerned  because  one  cannot  make  up 
one's  mind  to  become  involved  in  the  affair. 

7.  Indrnjhla,  "the  net  (Jala)  of  Indra,"  means  "cotijuiing, 
jugglery,  magic  trick;  stratagem  or  trick  in  war."  This  denotes 
the  creation  of  an  appearance  of  things  that  do  not  exist;  for 
example,  the  building  of  a  line  of  fortifications  made  only  of 
dummies,  or  the  simulation  of  an  attack,  say,  on  the  British 
Isles,  while  actually  an  invasion  of  Russia  is  being  ptepaied. 
Indrajala  involves  the  spreading  or  false  information  and  crea- 
tion of  false  belief,  and  might  be  said  to  be  a  special  form  of 
application  of  the  principle  of  mayn  to  the  techniques  of  war. 

These,  then,  are  the  seven  ways  to  approach  a  neighbor  in 
this  unsentimental  ocean  of  the  fish.  1  wonder  whether  we  have 
textbooks  of  politiis  in  the  West  that  cover  the  subject  with 
more  simplicity  and  clarity. 

We  may  conclude  this  innoduction  to  the  ancient  Indian 
handbooks  of  success  by  glancing  at  a  tew  typical  maxims.  The 
following  are  taken  Irom  the  Mahubharala,  Book  Xll. 

"Both  kinds  of  wisdom,  straight  and  crooked,  should  be 
within  call  of  the  king."  27 

27  Mahabharala  12.  100.  5. 

Throughout  most  of  the  Mahabharala  the  leaching  is  of  the  "straight" 
wisdom.  Only  when  hard  pressed  by  the  unrelenting  questions  of  the 
noble  Yudhisthira  was  the  great  gniu  ol  warriors.  Ilhisnia.  brought  to  reveal 
the  dark  secrets  of  the  "crooked"  way. 

"Yudhisthira  said:  'What  course  of  conduct  should  be  adopted  by  a 
king  shorn  of  friends,  having  many  enemies,  possessed  of  an  exhausted 
treasury,  and  destitute  of  troops,  when  he  is  surrounded  by  wicked  minis- 
ters, witcn  his  counsels  are  all  divulged,  and  when  he  docs  not  see  his 
way  clearly  before  him  .  .  .?' 

"Bhisma  said:  'Conversant  as  thou  art  with  duties,  thou  hast,  O  bull 
of  Bharata's  race,  asked  me  a  question  that  touches  on  a  mystery.  Without 


"The  last  word  of  social  wisdom  is,  never  trust."  2S 

"As  clouds  change  form  from  moment  to  moment,  just  so 
thine  enemy  of  today  becomes,  even  today,  thy  friend."  a9 

"Whoever  desires  success  in  this  world  must  be  prepared  to 
make  deep  bows,  swear  love  and  friendship,  speak  humbly,  and 
pretend  to  shed  and  wipe  away  tears."  so 

"Do  not  fear  the  results  of  karma,  rely  on  your  strength.  No 
one  has  ever  seen  in  this  world  what  the  fruits  are  of  a  good  or 
of  an  evil  deed.  Let  us  then  aspire  to  be  strong;  because  all 
things  belong  to  the  man  who  is  strong."  ai 

"Might  is  above  right;  right  proceeds  from  might;  right  lias 
its  support  in  might,  as  living  beings  in  the  soil.  As  smoke  the 
wind,  so  right  must  follow  might.  Right  in  itself  is  devoid  of 
command;  it  leans  on  might  as  the  creeper  on  the  tree. 

"Right  is  in  the  hands  of  the  strong;  nothing  is  impossible  to 
the  strong.  Everything  is  pure  that  comes  from  the  strong."  ** 

"Be  a  heron  in  calculating  thine  own  advantage,  a  lion  when 
thou  dost  attack,  a  wolf  when  thou  dost  prey,  a  hare  when  thou 
takest  flight."  as 

"When  thou  findcst  thyself  in  a  low  state,  try  to  lift  thyself 
up,  resorting  to  pious  as  well  as  to  cruel  actions.  Before  prac- 
ticing morality,  wait  until  thou  art  strong."  ** 

being  questioned,  O  Yudhisthira,  I  could  not  venture  to  discourse  upon 
this  duty.  Morality  is  very  subtle.  .  .  .  Listen  therefore,  O  Bharata,  to  the 
means  that  kings  may  employ  during  seasons  of  distress.  From  the  stand- 
point of  true  morality,  however,  I  would  not  call  these  means  righteous" 
(ib.  12.  130.  i-8). 

-^  Ib.  j  2.  80.  12. 

2B/6.  12,  138.  154. 

3,1  Ib.  12.  140.  17. 

S1  Ib.  12.  134.  2-3. 

82  Ib.  12.  134.  5-7. 

ss  Ib.  12. 140.  25. 

"  Ib.  12.  140.  38;  cf.  also  12. 

141.  62. 



"If  thou  art  not  prepared  to  be  cruel  and  to  kill  men  as  the 
fisher  kills  the  fish,  abandon  every  hope  of  great  success."  " 

"If  men  think  thee  soft,  they  will  despise  thee.  When  it  is, 
therefore,  time  to  be  cruel,  be  cruel;  and  when  it  is  time  to  be 
soft,  be  soft."  " 

A  few  selections  from  Kautilya's  Arlhaiaslra  will  suffice  to 
communicate  a  sense  of  the  atmosphere  within  the  palace.8' 

"He  [the  king]  should  construct  his  residential  palace  after 
the  model  of  his  treasure  house;  or  he  may  have  his  residential 
abode  in  the  center  of  a  delusive  chamber  (mohanagrha),  pro- 
vided with  secret  passages  built  into  the  walls;  or  in  an  under- 
ground chamber  concealed  by  the  figures  of  goddesses  and  altars 
(cailya)  carved  on  the  wooden  door-frame  and  connected  with 
many  underground  passages  for  exit;  or  in  an  upper  storey, 
provided  with  a  staircase  hidden  in  a  wall,  with  a  passage  for 
exit  made  in  a  hollow  pillar— the  whole  building  being  so  con- 
structed with  mechanical  contrivances  that  it  may  be  caused  to 
fall  down  when  necessary." 88 

"When  in  the  interior  of  the  harem,  the  king  shall  see  the 
queen  only  when  her  personal  integrity  is  guaranteed  by  an 
old  maid-servant.  He  shall  not  touch  any  woman  (unless  he  is 
assured  of  her  personal  integrity);  for,  hidden  in  the  queen's 
chamber,  his  own  brother  slew  king  Bhadrasena;  hiding  be- 
neath the  bed  of  his  mother,  the  son  killed  king  Karusa;  mix- 
ing fried  rice  with  poison,  as  though  with  honey,  his  own  queen 
poisoned  Kasiraja;  by  means  of  an  anklet  painted  with  poison, 
his  own  queen  killed  Vairantya;  with  a  gem  of  her  zone,  be- 
daubed with  poison,  his  own  queen  killed  Sauvlra;  with  a  look- 

nIb.  12.  15.  14; again,  12.  140.50. 

—  lb.  12.  56.  si;  again,  12.  102.  SS:  >«■  IOS-  33:  "■  '¥>■  65:  "■  '4'-  !*'• 
and  passim. 

"  Chdnakya  Kautilya's  Arthasastra.  translated  by  R.  Shamasastry,  with  an 
introduction  by  D.  J.  F.  Fleet,  Bangalore.  1915,  2nd  edition,  1925. 

a8  lb.  1.  20. 40;  transl.,  p.  45. 



ing-glass  painted  with  poison,  his  own  queen  killed  JalGtha; 
and  with  a  weapon  hidden  under  the  knot  of  her  hair,  his  own 
queen  slew  Viduratha.  Hence  the  king  should  always  be  watch- 
ful for  such  lurking  dangers.  He  should  keep  his  wives  away 
from  ascetics  with  shaven  head  or  braided  hair,  as  well  as  from 
buffoons  and  prostitutes.  Nor  shall  women  of  high  birth  have 
occasion  to  see  his  wives,  unless  they  be  appointed  midwives." 3U 

"Every  person  in  the  harem  shall  live  in  the  place  assigned  to 
him,  and  shall  never  move  to  a  place  assigned  to  others.  No  one 
in  the  harem  shall  at  any  time  keep  company  with  an  outsider. 
The  passage  of  commodities  of  any  kind  from  or  into  the  harem 
shall  be  controlled,  and  only  objects  marked  with  a  seal  (mudra) 
after  careful  inspection  shall  be  allowed  to  reach  their  destina- 
tion." 40 

"The  king  shall  partake  of  fresh  dishes  only  after  making  an 
oblation  out  of  them,  first  to  the  fire  and  then  to  the  birds.  Fire, 
birds,  the  food,  and  the  servants  will  betray  the  presence  of 
poison  by  various  reactions,  symptoms,  and  manners  of  be- 
havior." 41 

"All  undertakings  depend  upon  finance.  Hence  foremost  at- 

BB/6.  i.  20.  41;  transl.,  p.  46. 

40  lb.  1.  20.  42;  transl.,  p.  47. 

41  lb.  1.  21.  43;  transl.,  p.  48. 

Robert  Graves,  in  /,  Claudius  (a  novel  of  the  life  of  the  emperor 
Claudius,  based  on  Suetonius  and  Tacitus),  tells  how  Augustus,  fearing 
lest  he  should  be  poisoned  by  Livia,  took  only  figs  that  he  plucked  him- 
self. But  Livia  then  had  the  figs  on  the  trees  of  the  imperial  villa-garden 
coated  with  poison,  and  thus  the  aged  Augustus  met  his  death.  Claudius 
was  served  a  plate  of  mushrooms,  his  favorite  dish,  by  his  wife,  Agrippina 
the  younger.  The  largest  mushroom,  on  the  top  of  the  portion,  was 
poisoned.  The  queen  lovingly  put  the  poisoned  mushroom  on  his  plate 
herself,  while  taking  some  of  the  smaller  ones  from  the  same  dish  to 
keep  him  confident.  We  remember,  also,  that  the  cupbearers  of  medieval 
monarchs  had  to  guarantee  the  drink  they  served  their  sovereign  by  first 
pouring  a  small  quantity  into  the  shallow  lid  of  the  cup  and  emptying  it 
before  the  monarch's  eyes  with  a  drink  to  his  health. 


tention  shall  be  paid  to  the  treasury.  .  .  .  There  are  about  forty 
ways  of  embezzlement.  [These  are  described  in  detail.]  Just  as 
it  is  impossible  not  to  taste  honey  or  poison  when  it  is  on  the 
tip  of  the  tongue,  so  is  it  impossible  for  a  government  servant 
not  to  eat  up  at  least  a  bit  of  the  king's  revenue.  Just  as  fish 
moving  under  water  cannot  possibly  be  detected  either  as  drink- 
ing or  as  not  drinking  water,  so  government  servants  employed 
in  their  government  work  cannot  be  found  out  while  taking 

"It  is  possible  to  mark  the  movements  of  birds  flying  high  in 
the  sky,  but  it  is  not  equally  possible  to  ascertain  the  move- 
ment of  government  servants  of  hidden  purpose."  *'' 

The  Universal  King 

The  blank  pessimism  of  the  Indian  philosophy  of  politics, 
untouched  as  it  is  by  any  hope  or  ideal  of  progress  and  im 
provement,  harmonizes  with  the  Indian  view  of  time  (kala),  as 
also  with  the  early  and  medieval  Christian  notions  of  the  cor- 
rupt character  of  the  "world,"  Indian  ethics  (dkarma)  recog- 
nize that  the  rule  of  the  fish  must  be  outlawed  as  far  as  possible 
within  human  society;  indeed,  within  each  unit  of  society  it  is 
absolutely  outlawed— that  is  to  say,  within  the  province  of  each 
king."  Ideally,  the  science  of  government,  as  reviewed  in  the 

*2  Arthaiastra  2.  8.  65,  66,  69;  transl.,  pp.  73,  75,  79-80. 

*a  "Trie  king  should  always  bear  himself  toward  his  subjects  as  a  mother 
toward  the  child  of  her  womb.  As  the  mother,  disregarding  those  objects 
that  are  most  cherished  by  her,  seeks  the  good  of  her  child  alone,  even  so 
should  kings  conduct  themselves"  (Mahabharata  12.  56.  44-45). 


Arthaiastra,  stands  for  the  danda  of  dharma.  The  king  is  the 
chief  policeman  of  dharma  within  the  realm  that  he  controls, 
being  the  maintainor  and  staff  (danda)  of  the  revealed  ritualis- 
tic order  of  civil  life.  Mutual  good  will,  forbearance,  and  co- 
operation among  the  individuals,  groups,  trades,  and  castes 
are  demanded  within  each  state,  just  as  within  the  fold  of  a 
family;  but  there  is  no  hope,  according  to  the  Indian  concep- 
tion, that  this  peaceful  pattern  of  well-controlled,  harmonious 
human  decency  should  ever  become  transferred  to  the  larger 
field  of  the  nations.  Between  these  fiercely  antagonistic  super- 
individuals,  since  they  are  unamenable  to  the  control  of  any 
higher  power,  the  primeval  law  of  nature  remains  in  operation, 

And  yet  there  is  an  ancient  mythical  ideal— an  idyllic  com- 
pensatory dream,  born  of  the  longing  for  stability  and  peace— 
which  represents  a  universal,  world-wide  empire  of  enduring 
tranquillity  under  a  just  and  virtuous  world-monarch,  the 
cakravartin,  "owner  of  the  cakravarla"  who  should  put  an  end 
to  the  perpetual  struggle  of  the  contending  states.  Cakra  is 
"wheel,"  a  noun  related  ctymologically  to  the  Greek  wfo&os, 
Latin  circus  and  circulus,  and  Anglo-Saxon  hweol.  Cakravarla 
refers  to  the  circumference  of  the  mighty  mountain-range  that 
surrounds  the  world,  out  beyond  the  enveloping  world-ocean, 
like  a  rim.  The  Cakravartin  conducts  his  army  to  the  farthest 
horizon.  His  war-elephants  quench  their  thirst  and  bathe  in  the 
deep  seas  at  the  four  quarters.  The  kings  of  the  rival  realms 
throughout  the  concentric  circles  of  his  mandala  bow  in  ac- 
knowledgment of  his  unchallengeable  supremacy,  the  diamonds 
of  their  jeweled  tiaras  and  diadems  being  reflected  in  the  mir- 
rorlike nails  of  his  toes  as  they  pay  obeisance  at  the  platform 
of  the  raised  throne  of  his  supreme  command.  For  by  virtue  of 
his  moral  supremacy  the  passage  of  his  army  is  irresistible.  The 
Cakravartin  is  the  great  man,  the  superman  (makapurusa), 
among  kings;  and  he  is  preceded  on  his  march  by  a  luminous 


apparition  in  the  firmament  in  the  form  of  a  wheel  (cakra)-a 
duplication  of  the  neolithic  symbol  of  the  sun-wheel.  The  day 
when  this  first  appeared  to  him,  coming  before  his  pure  vision 
in  the  concentration  of  his  morning  prayer  and  meditation,  it 
stood  as  the  sign  that  he  was  to  undertake  the  campaign  of  uni- 
fying the  whole  earthly  realm.  He  arose  and  followed  the  sym- 
bol, which  now  moves  before  him  as  he  marches.  In  this  way  he 
makes  it  "turn  and  revolve"  on  his  path.  Hence  he  is  called  the 
cakra-vartin— the  root  vjt  meaning  "to  turn,  to  revolve."  Cahram 
vartayuti:  "he  sets  the  sacred  wheel  (of  the  world-pacifying 
monarchy)  in  motion." 

This  conception  of  the  mahapurusa  cakravartin,  "the  super- 
man turning  the  wheel,"  goes  back  not  only  to  the  earliest 
Vedic,  but  also  to  the  pre-Vedic,  pre-Aryan  traditions  of  India, 
being  reflected  in  various  Buddhist  and  Jaina  writings  as  well 
as  in  the  Hindu  Puranas."  According  to  the  Buddhist  concep- 
tion, the  Universal  Monarch  is  the  secular  counterpart  of  the 

**  Editor's  note:  As  stated  supra,  p.  60,  note.  Dr.  Zimmer  regarded  Jamism, 
Sankhya,  Yoga,  and  Buddhism  (which  are  heterodox  teachings,  i.e.,  teai  h- 
ings  rejecting  the  authority  of  the  Vedas)  as  representing  a  non-Vedic, 
non-Aryan  stream  of  tradition,  coming  down  (with  modifications)  from 
pre-Aryan,  Dravidian  times. 

The  best  description  of  the  Cakravartin  appears  in  the  Buddhist  Pali 
canon  of  Ceylon,  in  "The  Longer  Sermons  or  Dialogues"  (Digha-nikaya), 
translated  by  T.  W.  and  C.  A.  F.  Rhys  Davids,  Dialogues  of  the  Buddha,  Vols. 
II,  III  (Sacred  Books  of  the  Buddhists,  Vols.  Ill,  IV).  London,  1910  and  102 1 ; 
see  especially  no.  17,  Mahd-sudassana-sutta  and  no.  26,  Cakkavatli-sihandda- 
sutta.  The  Mahd-sudassana-sutta  treats  of  Sudassana,  a  legendary  Cakra- 
vartin to  whom  the  Buddha  repeatedly  relcrs  in  the  course  of  these  dia- 
logues (see  also,  for  example,  the  Maha-parimbbdna-sullanta,  "The  Great 
Text  of  the  Final  Extinction,"  ih.  16.  5,  15).  The  Cakkavatti-sihandda- 
sutta  ("The  Lion's  Roar  of  the  World  Emperor")  describes  the  career  of 
the  legendary  Cakravartin  Drdha-nemi  (Pali:  Dalha-nemi),  "He,  the  felly 
of  whose  wheel  (nemi)  a  firm  (drdha,  dalha),  i.fc,  indestructible."  The  attri- 
butes of  a  Cakravartin  are  described  in  Digha-nikaya  III,  Ambatthasut- 
tanta  1.  5. 



Buddha,  the  "Enlightened  One,"  who  himsel£  is  said  to  have 
"set  in  motion  the  wheel  of  the  sacred  doctrine,"  Like  the 
Cakravartin,  the  Buddha  is  the  master,  not  o£  a  national  or 
otherwise  limited  communion,  but  of  the  world.  His  wheel,  the 
Buddhist  dharma,  is  not  reserved  lor  the  privileged  castes,  like 
the  dharma  or  the  Brahmans,  but  is  for  the  whole  universe;  a 
doctrine  of  release  intended  to  bring  peace  to  all  living  beings 
without  exception.  The  Buddha  and  the  Cakravartin,  that  is  to 
say,  manifest  the  same  universal  principle,  one  on  the  spiritual, 
the  other  on  the  secular  plane;  and  both  bear  on  their  bodies, 
already  at  binh,  certain  characteristic  auspicious  signs  in  token 
of  their  mission:  the  thirty-two  great  marks  (mahavytmjana), 
and  the  numerous  additional  secondary  marks  (anuvyanjana). 
These  having  been  examined  by  the  soothsayers  and  astrologer- 
physiognomists  shortly  following  the  hour  of  the  nativity,  it  is  an- 
nounced what  destiny  awaits  the  miraculous  babe.45 

The  seven  great  symbols  that  come  to  the  Cakravartin  when 
the  moment  arrives  for  him  to  fulfill  his  mission  are  the  follow- 

t.  The  Sacred  Wheel  (cakra),  denoting  universality.  The 
Cakravartin  himself  is  the  hub  of  the  universe;  toward  him  all 
things  tend,  like  the  spokes  of  a  wheel.  He  is  the  Polar  Star 
about  which  everything  revolves  with  the  order  and  harmony 
of  the  hosts  of  the  celestial  lights. 

2.  The  Divine  White  Elephant  (kastiratna,  "elephant-treas- 
ure"). Swift  as  thought,  this  divine  animal  carries  the  monarch 
on  his  world-inspection  tours  across  the  firmament.  The  white 
elephant  was  the  ancient  sacred  mount  of  the  pre-Aryan  kings. 

3.  The  Milk-white  Horse,  the  valorous  sun-steed  (aivaratna, 
"horse-treasure").  The  horse  was  the  mount  and  chariot  animal 

4B  Those  Mahapurusas  who  at  birth  are  close  enough  to  final  enlighten- 
ment to  become  Buddhas  have  the  choice  of  becoming  either  Cakravartins 
or  Buddhas,  the  latter  alternative  requiring  the  rejection  of  secular  power 
and  enjoyment  for  the  flinty  path  of  austerity  and  absolute  renunciation. 


of  the  Aryan  invaders.  This  milk-white  animal  performs  the 
same  service  for  the  Cakravartin  as  the  Divine  White  Elephant. 

4.  The  Magic  Jewel  (cinlilmani,  "thought-jewel"),  i.e.,  the 
wishing-stone  that  turns  night  into  day  and  fulfills  every  desire 
the  moment  the  wish  is  uttered. 

5.  The  Perfect  Queen-Consort  (striratnn,  "treasure  of  awife"): 
the  ideal  woman,  faultless  in  heauty,  as  in  virtue.  Her  body  has 
a  cooling  touch  during  the  hot  season  and  a  wanning  touch 
during  the  cold. 

6.  The  Perfect  Minister  of  Finance  (geltapati,  grhapati. 
"householder").  Because  of  his  able  and  blameless  administra- 
tion, he  is  never  short  of  funds  for  the  pin  poses  of  lavish 
generosity;  charity  is  dispensed  throughout  the  univeise,  to  allevi- 
ate the  sufferings  of  widows,  orphans,  the  aged,  and  the  sick. 

7.  The  Perfect  General-in-Chief  {parinayaka,  "the  leader"). 
These  seven  symbols  are  shown  on  Buddhist  altars,  together 

with  a  few  additional  emblems,  to  represent  the  spiritual  em- 
perorship of  the  Enlightened  One.  A  pair  of  fish  also  appear 
frequently— not  standing  for  the  matsya-nyaya,  this  time,  but  for 
life-abundance.  For  the  fish  typifies  the  breeding  force  of  the 
sea,  the  fecundity  of  the  waters  out  of  which  come  organisms 
without  number,  piocreativc  and  self-engendering.  The  fish 
provides  sustenance  for  all;  hence  it  is  used  symbolically  with 
the  same  meaning  as  the  cornucopia,  the  vessel  filled  with  lotus 
(lowers,  and  the  bowl  full  of  jewels  or  of  gold. 

A  Buddhist  representation  of  the  secular  Cakravartin  with 
the  seven  symbols  has  been  preserved  on  a  stone  slab  that  once 
formed  part  of  a  relic  mound  (stupa)  "  at  Jaggayapefa,  just  east 
of  Hyderabad  and  not  far  from  the  celebrated  stupa  of  Ama- 
ravati.  The  building  itself  lias  disappeared;  possibly  parts  of  it 
were  incorporated  in  the  later  structure  of  Amaravati".  The  date 

"The  relic  mound,  or  stupa,  is  perhaps  die  most  characteristic  and 
striking  type  of  Buddhist  edifice.  For  a  discussion,  cf.  Zimmcr,  Myths  and 
Symbols  in  Indian  Art  and  Civilization,  pp.  199-801. 


is  certainly  not  later  than  the  first  century  a.d.,  and  with  rea- 
sonable assurance  may  be  assigned  even  to  the  second  or  third 
century  B.C.  The  style  betrays  no  trace  of  the  Hellenistic  in- 
fluence of  Gandhara,  nor  any  Bactrian  or  Kusana  characteris- 
tics. It  is  definitely  Hindu,  pre-Mathura,  and  more  archaic  than 
the  lively  work  of  nearby  Amaravatl.47  This  is  the  earliest  rep- 

*T  Editor's  note:  Indo-Aryan  art  (as  distinct  from  the  pre-Aryan,  Dravid- 
ian  remains  of  the  Indus  Valley  civilization;  cf.  supra,  p.  60,  Editor's  note) 
is  almost  undocumented  before  the  third  century  b.c,  when  it  appears 
suddenly  in  an  abundance  of  forms,  some  crude,  some  refined.  Conspicu- 
ous among  the  remains  are  a  number  of  Greek  coins  bearing  portraits 
of  the  Alexandrian  emperors  of  Bactria,  as  well  as  the  works  of  a  post- 
Alexandrian  school  of  craftsmen  in  the  Punjab  and  Afghanistan  (Gan- 
dhara) who  produced  Buddhist  statuary  in  a  Hellenistic  style.  Occidental 
historians  have  been  zealous  to  detect  the  influence  of  these  Greek  colonial 
forms  throughout  the  Orient,  and  some  have  gone  so  far  as  to  assert  that 
all  Oriental  art  whatsoever  stems  from  the  influence  of  the  Greek  genius. 
Ananda  K.  Coomaraswamy,  however,  has  pointed  out  (History  of  Indian 
and  Indonesian  Art,  New  York,  Leipzig,  London,  1927,  pp.  5off.)  that  the 
art  of  Gandhara  cannot  be  dated  as  early  as  its  first  champions  supposed, 
it  being  impossible  to  establish  any  of  its  sculpture  earlier  than  the  first 
century  a.d.,  and  that  though  its  sentimental  style  is  Hellenistic,  its  iconog- 
raphy and  themes  are  Indian,  copying  motifs  already  represented  in  works 
of  the  Maurya  period  some  three  to  four  centuries  earlier.  Moreover,  the 
vigorous  Buddhist  and  jaina  sculpture  that  was  being  produced  in  the 
same  century  in  Mathura  (modern  Muttra,  on  the  Jumna,  between  Delhi 
and  Agra)  "cannot  be  derived  from  any  known  class  of  images  in  Gan- 
dhara" (ib.,  p.  57,  quoting  J.  Ph.  Vogel,  "The  Mathura  School  of  Sculp- 
ture," Archaeological  Survey  of  India,  Annual  Reports,  1909-10,  p.  66). 

One  of  the  most  curious  facts  about  Gandhara  is  that  its  Hellenistic  art 
did  not  come  to  flower  while  the  Greeks  were  governing  that  region.  As 
we  shall  see  (infra,  pp.  505-506),  the  Greeks  were  expelled,  c.  75  b.c,  by  a 
group  of  invading  Scythians,  or  Sakas,  and  these  in  turn,  c  50  aj>.,  by  a 
tribe  of  Mongolian  nomads  known  as  the  Yueh-chi,  or  Kusanas.  The  earli- 
est possible  dating  of  any  known  Gandharan  work  is  in  the  Saka  period, 
while  the  culmination  of  the  style  took  place  under  the  protection  of  the 
Kusana  emperor  Kaniska  (c  78-1 23  a.d.).  Under  this  emperor  the  vigorous 
native  Indian  school  of  Mathura  flourished  also. 

Contemporaneous  with  these  developments  in  the  north  was  the  growth 

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resentation  extant  of  the  native  Indian  ideal  and  vision  of  the 
universal  king  (Plate  II). 

In  "The  Gicai  Text  on  the  Final  Extinction  of  the  Buddha/' 4S 
the  teacher,  at  the  moment  of  his  departure  from  the  world, 
was  questioned  by  his  cousin  and  favorite  pupil,  Ananda.  What 
ceremonies,  Ananda  wished  to  knowf  were  to  be  performed 
after  his  demise?  The  Enlightened  One  replied  that  the  dis- 
ciples should  not  trouble  themselves  about  it,  because  there 
were  enough  believers  in  the  highest  classes  of  society  to  honor 
the  remains  of  the  Tathagata.4"  "They  will  not  l.ul  to  honor 
the  remains  of  the  Tathagata,"  he  said,  "in  the  same  way  one 
honors  the  remains  of  a  Cakravartin";  that  is  to  say,  in  the  noblest 
manner  possible.  And  then  he  described  to  Ananda  the  cere- 
monies traditionally  performed  after  the  death  of  a  Cakravartin. 
The  Buddha  added  that  there  were  four  kinds  of  men  worthy 
of  a  stupa:  1.  a  Tathagata  like  himself,  who  had  turned  the 
wheel  of  the  law  and  taught  the  universal  doctrine,  2.  a  Pratyeka 
Buddha,  i.e.,  one  who,  having  found  Enlightenment,  had  not 
returned  to  the  world  to  teach,  3.  the  pupil  of  a  Tathagata,  and 
4.  a  secular  Cakravartin.  This  tist  does  not  belong  to  the  earliest 

ol  a  more  gentle  and  graceful  style  in  the  Deccan,  in  the  coastal  region 
governed  by  the  native  Andhra  dynasty,  between  the  Godavari  and  the 
Kistna.  The  destroyed  stupa  at  Jaggayapeta  (which  belongs  to  this  move- 
ment) seems  to  have  been  built  during  or  before  the  first  century  a.d.,  since 
the  much  more  sophisticated  and  exquisite  work  of  nearby  Ainaravatl— 
"the  most  voluptuous  and  the  most  delicate  (lower  of  Indian  sculpture," 
it  is  called  by  Coomaraswamy  (;'&.,  p.  71)— certainly  belongs  to  the  second. 
Dr.  Zimmer*s  example  of  the  Cakravartin  comes,  therefore,  from  one  of 
the  earliest  known  monuments  of  native  Indian  art. 

48  Dtgha-nikaya  XVI,  Maha-parintbbana-suttanta  5.  10-12;  H.  Kern,  Man- 
nual  of  Indian  Buddhism  (Grundriss  der  Indo-Arischen  Philologie,  Band 
III,  Heft  8),  Strassburg,  1896,  pp.  43-44;  also  Davids,  Dialogues  of  the  Buddha, 
Vol.  Ill,  pp.  154-156. 

*°  "Who  has  come  (dgata)  in  truth  (tatha)."  Tatha,  "such-ness";  the  in- 
describable way  or  state  that  can  be  expressed  only  by  tatha,  which  means 
simply  "thus,  such  manner,"  or  "yes."  The  Tathagata  is  the  Buddha. 


stratification  of  the  Buddhist  tradition  but  is  a  reflection  of 
the  fact,  apparently,  that  there  were  stupas  in  existence  to  the 
memories  of  Mahapurusas  of  these  four  kinds. 

As  we  have  said,  the  ideal  of  the  Universal  Monarch  goes 
back  to  pre -Aryan  times  in  India  (third  and  fourth  millenniums 
B.C.).  Bui  traits  have  been  added  from  a  second,  equivalent 
ideal,  associated  rather  with  the  horse  than  with  the  native  In- 
dian elephant,  which  must  have  been  developed  by  the  Aryan 
semi-nomads  before  they  moved  into  India  proper  from  Af- 
ghanistan through  the  Khyber  Pass.  At  thai  distant  period  the 
steppe-domains  of  the  various  chieftains  were  somewhat  flexible 
as  to  boundaries;  power  and  the  possession  of  lands  being  un- 
derstood in  terms  of  claims  to  certain  graying  areas.  The  rang- 
ing herds  of  cattle  and  horses  were  accompanied  by  armed 
riders,  .\r\an  cowboys,  who  went  as  defenders  of  their  chief- 
tains' (laims  to  both  the  animals  and  the  grounds  on  which  they 
grazed.  When  a  king,  in  those  remote  times,  wished  to  announce 
himself  as  paramount  sovereign,  he  would  do  so  by  letting  loose 
to  graze  a  perfect  specimen  of  a  horse— one  fit  to  be  offered  in 
the  most  solemn  rite  of  the  horse-sacrifice  (asvamedhu).  This 
beast  was  to  be  allowed  to  go  where  it  liked,  followed  by  an 
elite-guard  of  young  warriors,  ready  and  fit  to  overthrow  any- 
one who  should  attempt  to  drive  the  horse  from  his  own  grazing 
grounds,  or  to  make  it  captive.  When  this  stately  animal,  in 
imitation  of  the  horselike  sun,  had  wandered  over  the  earth  for 
the  full  cycle  of  a  year,  extending  its  adventurous  stroll  of  con- 
quest as  far  as  it  pleased  and  wherever  it  chose,  it  was  then 
escorted  home  again  to  be  slaughtered  sacrificially  with  the  most 
elaborate  and  solemn  rites.  This  royal  sacrifice  elevated  the 
king  who  owned  the  animal  to  the  supreme  position  over  all 
his  neighbors;  for  he  had  demonstrated  that  he  could  send  his 
herds  to  graze  as  far  as  they  pleased;  the  world  was  his  grazing 
ground;  no  one  would  dare  to  interfere.  His  property,  the  valor 


of  his  knights,  and  therewith  his  own  supremacy,  had  been 
demonstrated  and  accepted. 

The  asvamedha  rite  is  described  to  the  last  detail  in  the  texts 
of  Vcdic  piicst-loie  (Brahmanas  and  Srauta-sQtras)/'0  and  has 
been  performed  solemnly  by  the  Hindu  emperors  even  of  com- 
paratively recent  periods— for  example,  by  the  emperors  of  the 
Gupta  dynasty,  who  governed  all  of  northern  India  irom  320 
to  480  a.d.61  Samudragupta,  the  second  of  this  line,  ordered  cut 
in  stone  a  panegyric,  composed  by  his  court-poet  I  larisena,  pio- 
claiming  that  he  had  extended  his  control  over  an  empire  at 
least  equal  to  that  ol  (he  Mauryas  under  King  Asoka  in  the 
third  century  B.C.  The  panegyric  was  cut  on  a  pillar  that  already 
bore  the  edicts  of  King  Asoka— the  point  being  that  Samudra- 
gupta was  an  orthodox  Hindu,  whereas  King  Asoka  had  been  a 
Buddhist.  The  Hindu  world-monarch  (cakravartin),  pacifying 
mankind  by  incorporating  under  his  sole  sovereignty  all  the 
kingdoms  round  about— the  "great  king"  (maharaja),  "king 
above  kings"  (rajadhiraja;  compare  the  Persian:  shahanam  shah, 
"shah  of  shahs")— was  to  be  proclaimed  equal  in  rank  to  those 
world-redeeming  Buddhas  who,  through  their  doctrines,  set  in 
motion  the  wheel.  Samudragupta  confirmed  and  celebrated  his 
position  with  the  supreme  ceremonial  of  the  asvamedha,  the 
primary  rile  of  the  Vcdic  Hindu  tradition— and  this  specifically 
was  the  deed  that  he  recorded  in  his  inscription  on  the  stone. 

Tin-  sun-wheel  as  the  Cakravartin's  symbol  indicates  that  this 
universal  shepherd-king  is  as  it  were  the  sun— the  life-giver  and 
universal  eye,  the  lord  and  sustainer  of  the  world.  The  same 
sun-disk  is  borne  by  the  Hindu  divinity  Visnu:  it  is  the  discus 
in  his  hand,  called  Sudarsana,  "beautiful  to  see,  auspicious  to 
behold";    it  gives  light   and   life.   The   sun-wheel    as  Visnu's 

B0  Srauta:  "relating  to  Sruti,"  i.e.,  to  the  Veda.  For  Sruti,  cf.  supra,  p.  61, 
Editor's  note:  for  sutra,  cf.  supra,  p.  38,  note  22. 

51  Cf.  supra,  p.  67,  Editor's  note,  and  Dunbar,  op.  cit.,  chapter  3,  pp. 



weapon,  as  the  Cakravartin's  symbol,  and  as  the  Law  set  in  mo- 
tion by  the  Buddha  is  derived  in  turn  from  an  immensely  old 
and  far-spread  solar  symbolism.  Louis  XIV  of  France  parodied 
the  formula  when  he  styled  himself  the  Solar  King,  le  Roi  Soleil. 
The  sun,  the  light  and  life  of  the  world,  shines  on  all  alike, 
without  distinction;  so  too  shines  the  true  Cakravartin.  His 
power  is  that  of  nature's  supreme  and  culminating  manifesta- 
tion, the  enlightenment  of  Man  the  King— balanced  perfectly 
in  reason,  justice,  mercy,  and  understanding. 

Hut  what  mockeries  of  this  ideal  have  been  the  dynasties  of 
the  pretenders  to  the  solar  virtue!  Their  roads  to  victory  have 
all  been  soaked  with  blood.  For  sheer  extent,  the  rich  domains 
of  the  north  Indian  Gupta  conquerors  of  the  fourth  century 
a.d.  might  well  have  qualified  those  kings  for  the  majestic  title 
that  they  proudly  took  unto  themselves;  but  their  dynasties 
were  supported  by  the  crafty  and  violent  art  of  niti.  Being  them- 
selves nothing  if  not  a  manifestation  of  the  primeval  matsya- 
nyaya  doctrine,  they  did  not  transmute  the  base  ocean  waters 
into  gold.  Nor  can  anything  better  be  said  for  that  self-styled 
Roi  Soldi  whose  neo-Pcrsian  concept  of  the  absolute  monarch 
prepared  the  social  atmosphere  of  France  for  t lie  downfall  of 
his  \<dn  dynasty.  Ciomwell  in  England,  at  the  very  moment  of 
Louis'  apogee,  was  laying  the  foundations  of  Anglo-Saxon, 
Protestant  democracy  across  the  Channel— also  in  a  sea  of  blood. 
The  first  royal  head  had  already  fallen.  With  the  French  Revo- 
lution the  new  age  released  its  fury  to  the  downfall  of  many 
kings  and  emperors  throughout  the  world.  But  where,  to  this 
day,  is  the  boon  of  everlasting  peace? 

In  the  recent  Occident  (during  the  last  two  decades  of  the 
Western  world  dominion,  1918-38)  a  generous  attempt  was 
initiated  to  make  come  true  the  millennial  dream.  Self-rontrol, 
co-operation,  and  mutual  good  will  were  to  prevail  against  the 
primeval  law.  Steps  were  taken  to  make  effective  in  the  sphere 
of  international  competition  the  laws  of  human  decency  that 



throughout  history  have  prevailed  within  the  individual  com- 
munities: the  moral  order  of  the  human  family.  The  League  of 
Nations  and  the  Kellogg-Briand  Pact  renouncing  war  made  it 
almost  appear,  for  a  moment,  as  though  the  day  of  the  Cakra- 
vartin  were  at  hand.  But  the  brave  attempt  broke  and  the  law 
of  the  fish  prevails  again  without  disguise.  What  is  more,  within 
the  totalitarian  ponion  of  the  world  that  law  is  now  supreme 
within  the  communities  themselves,  dissolving  dharma  (civil 
liberties,  religious  freedom,  the  rights  of  man)  to  an  extent 
such  as  never  was  known  in  the  history  of  Hindu  India. 

When  the  philosophy  of  the  Arthaidstra  first  became  known 
to  the  little  circle  of  Western  philologians  who  published  and 
commented  upon  the  documents,  our  civilization  had  still  some 
years  to  go  before  the  outbreak  of  the  first  World  War.  The  elder 
generation  of  scholars,  in  those  comparatively  innocent  years, 
expressed  their  Christian  opinion  that  we  were  here  confronted 
with  a  very  interesting  document  of  the  Hindu  genius,  a  highly 
sophisticated,  curious,  yet  characteristic  specimen  of  thought, 
belonging  to  a  definitely  bygone  stage  of  human  history— an 
archaic  civilization  far  away  that  had  never  known  the  bless- 
ings of  the  basic  ideals  of  Europe.  The  Hindu  theories  seemed 
to  those  good  men  to  he  imbued  with  a  pagan  wickedness  quite 
their  own,  to  which  almost  nothing  in  the  Christian  Western 
tradition  could  be  compared.  Not  even  Machiavelli  could  be 
compared  to  them;  for  he  was  an  Occidental,  after  all,  with  a 
Christian  mind. 

Machiavclli's  The  Prince  (II  Principe),  with  its  cynical  politi- 
cal advice  and  point  of  view,  was  composed  in  the  cruel  period 
of  transition  from  the  Middle  Ages  to  modern  times.  Machiavelli 
had  distilled  his  worldly  wisdom  from  his  personal  experiences 
and  observations  as  foreign  secretary  to  a  town-republic  caught 
in  the  terrible  turmoil  of  fifteenth-century  Italian  historv;  and 
he  had  added  what  he  could  deduce  from  studying  Livy  and  the 
classics.  His  intention  was  to  prepare  the  way  for  the  political 


hero-savior,  who,  as  he  earnestly  hoped  and  prayed,  should  soon 
appear  on  the  troubled  stage  of  his  Italy,  to  set  things  right, 
expel  from  his  native  soil  the  cruel  invaders  (France  and  Ger- 
many), make  an  end  to  their  devastating  raids  and  crushing 
tyrannies,  and  finally  quell  even  the  internecine  wars  oi  those 
upstarts  and  tyrant-adventurers  who  were  tearing  the  country 
to  pieces,  wrecking  all  hope  for  such  unification  as  hat!  been 
achieved  for  France  in  the  days  of  Louis  XI.  Machiavelli's  pages 
thus  arc  inspired  by  a  fervent  patriotism,  the  like  of  which  can- 
not be  detected  in  the  Hindu  doctrines;  these  lack  completely 
that  modern  idea  and  feeling.  And  so  it  seemed  to  the  scholars 
who  compared  the  two  works  that  Machiavelli's  seemingly  cyn- 
ical doctrine,  ice-cold  and  immoral  though  it  was,  neverthe- 
less glowed  with  a  redeeming  sacred  fire  which  was  lacking  to 
the  heathen— that,  namely,  of  the  author's  love  for  a  modern 
Christian  folk.  But  this  very  love  is  the  power  that  keeps  the 
law  of  the  fishes  operating  at  its  full  force  in  the  modern  world. 
The  author  of  //  Principe  had  been  the  first  strictly  scientific 
Western  author  on  politics  and  the  art  of  government;  his  work 
was  an  unsurpassed  classic,  highly  specialized,  unbiased  by 
popular  truisms  and  prejudices,  clear-sighted,  accurate,  unsen- 
timental, and  courageous.  The  Hindu  theories,  on  the  other 
hand,  larking  the  sacred  fire,  and  going  back  to  the  unbaptized 
age  of  Alexander  the  Great— in  part,  to  centuries  even  earlier— 
were  judged  by  their  critics  to  have  not  the  slightest  trace  of 
moral  worth  and  decent  human  sentiment.  They  seemed  to  the 
scholars  of  those  days  before  the  first  World  War  to  mirror  the 
primitive,  though  highly  sophisticated,  state  of  human  affairs  in  a 
pagan  civilization— a  state  superseded,  once  and  for  all,  by  the 
rise  of  the  Christian  society,  the  humanitarian  achievements  of 
modern  enlightenment,  and  the  whole  tendency  of  what  has 
been  called  "progress."  Pessimists,  like  Schopenhauer,  Nietzsche, 
and  the  Swiss  historian  Jakob  Rurckhardt,  had  already  ques- 
tioned and  slightly  shaken  the  complacency  of  those  self-con- 


gratulatory  times,  but  not  enough  to  have  made  any  conspicu- 
ous impression  on  the  general  belief  in  human  melioration 
and  perfectibility.  Most  ol  the  scholars  could  look  with  only 
pity  and  disgust  on  such  documents  as  Kaufilya's  Arthasastra, 
which  continued  lor  them  everything  they  had  ever  believed 
about  the  need  ioi  Christian  light  in  the  unrcgenerate  lands 
of  the  heathen. 

Today,  however,  when  we  peruse  this  document  handed 
down  to  us  thiough  more  than  two  thousand  years,  history 
forces  us  to  the  sad  and  witty  comment  of  Hamlet  when  he 
realized  that  the  time  was  out  of  joint:  "This  was  sometime  a 
paradox,  but  now  the  time  gives  it  proof."  What  is  going  on 
today  in  a  large  portion  of  the  world  would  seem,  in  the  light 
of  this  book,  to  amount  to  a  total  Asiatization  of  political  af- 
fairs, both  international  and  domestic.  And  the  laws  are  seen 
again  to  be  what  the\  were  in  ages  past.  One  feels  inclined  to 
bestow  a  new  and  deep  respect  on  the  genius  who  at  that  early 
pciiod  recogni/ed  and  elucidated  the  basic  forces  and  situations 
that  were  to  lemain  perennial  in  the  human  political  field.  The 
same  style  of  Indian  thought  that  invented  the  game  of  chess 
grasped  with  prolound  insight  the  rules  of  this  larger  game  of 
power.  And  these  are  rules  that  cannot  be  disregarded  by  any- 
one seriously  preparing  to  enter  the  field  of  political  action, 
whether  for  motives  of  rugged  individualism  or  in  order  to  take 
the  world  in  his  hands  and  see  whether  it  may  not  be  he  who  is 
destined  to  become  the  Cakravartin— that  blessed  one  who  is  to 
lift  the  sufferings  that  have  always  and  everywhere  marked  our 
sorry  history  under  the  government  of  the  sharks. 



Kama-deva,  the  Hindu  god  of  love,  is  no  little  son  of  mother 
Venus,  no  ^u/to— chubby,  tender  infant-but  a  brilliant,  dex- 
terous youth.  His  glamorous  mate  is  Rati,  "Lust  and  Sensual 
Delight."  And  like  the  divine  Eros  of  Hesiod,  celebrated  by 
Phaedrus  in  Plato's  dialogue,  Kama  was  the  first-born  of  the 

First  Chaos  came,  and  then  broad-bosomed  Earth, 
The  everlasting  seat  of  all  that  is, 
And  Love.1 

This  dangerous  youth's  divine  military  commander-in-chief  is 
Vasanta,  "Spring."  With  a  fragrant  wind  from  the  south  Vasanta 
brings  the  landscape  into  blossom  and  softens  all  creatures  for 
the  sweet,  piercing,  irresistible  attack  of  the  god  of  love. 

Kama  carries  a  bow  entwined  with  flowers,  and  five  arrows 
the  points  of  which  are  fragrant  blossoms.  The  bow  and  arrow, 
it  must  be  borne  in  mind,  were  once  to  be  taken  very  seriously. 
They  were  always  the  classic  weapon  of  Indian  warfare,  from 
the  remote  centuries  of  the  Vedic  period,  through  the  age  of 
Epic  chivalry,  and  even  through  the  subsequent  period  of  the 
contending  tyrant-kings,  until  the  Moslem  invasions  introduced 
the  Chinese-Western  invention  of  gunpowder,  cannon,  guns, 
and  bullets.  Kama  is  called  Puspa-bana,  "whose  arrows  are 
flowers,"  and  Panca-sayaka,  "endowed  with  five  arrows."  He 
1  Hesiod,  Theogony  1 16£;  Plato,  Symposium  178  B. 


carries  also  a  noose  or  lasso  (pasa)  with  which  to  catch  and  fetter 
his  victim  from  afar,  as  well  as  a  hook  with  which  to  drag  the 
victim  near.  These  four  instruments  of  the  invincible  god— 
the  arrow,  the  bow,  the  noose,  and  the  hook— aTe  associated  in 
the  magic  rituals  and  diagrams  of  the  medieval  Tantric  schools  J 
with  the  four  great  spellbinding  commands  that  produce  love 
and  surrender.  These  aref  lcspcctivcly,  the  commands  "Open 
up!"  (jamb ha),  symbolized  by  the  arrows;  "Confuse,  drive  madl" 
(moha),  the  bow;  "Paralyze,  stupefy,  make  rigid  and  immov- 
able!" (stmnbha),  the  noose;  and  "Humble,  tame,  subdue!" 
{vaia),  the  hook. 

It  is  told  that  Kama  once  presumed  to  take  his  aim  at  Siva 
(the  master  yogi  and  archetypal  ascetic-solitary  of  the  Hindu 
pantheon),  having  been  commanded  to  do  so  by  the  king  of 
the  gods,  Indra,  in  order  to  break  Siva's  meditation  and  fill  him 
with  love  for  the  goddess  Parvatl,  divine  daughter  of  the  moun- 
tain king  Himalaya.  Parvatl  was  an  incarnation  of  the  supreme 
goddess  of  the  world,  Kali-Durga-Satf,  Siva's  eternal  female- 
counterpart  and  projected  energy,  whom  the  god,  for  the  well- 
being  of  the  universe,  was  to  be  brought  to  recognize  and  know.8 
But  when  the  first  flower-shaft  found  its  mark  and  Siva  was 
aroused  from  the  timeless  contemplation  of  his  own  innermost 
supernal  luminosity,  a  lightning  Hash  of  anger  broke  from  his 
third  or  middle  eye,  at  the  point  between  the  brows,  and  the 
body  of  Kama,  the  very  vision  of  Charm  Irresistible,  was  re- 
duced to  ashes.  Rati",  the  desolated  spouse,  prevailed  on  Siva 
to  bring  her  consort  back  from  non-entity,  but  though  the  spirit 
returned,  the  beautiful  bodv  could  not  be  produced  again. 
Therefore  Kama  is  called  Annnga,  "bodiless."  He  hovers  above 
and  between  lovers  intangibly,  invisibly  forcing  them  to  each 
other's  embrace. 

2  Cf.  supra,  p.  61,  Editor's  note,  and  infra,  pp.  5608. 
•■'  Cf.  Hcinrich  Zimmer,  The  King  and  the  Corpse,  The  Bollingen  Series 
XI.  New  York.  1948,  Part  II. 



Kama-loka,  "the  realm  (loka)  of  desires  and  their  fulfillments 
(Jiama)"  is  the  god  of  love's  beautiful  paradise  of  joys,  where 
men  and  animals  dwell  spellbound  by  objects  of  the  senses. 
Thus  allured,  the  Self-forgetful  beings  remain  fixed  to  the  uni- 
versal wheel  of  the  round  of  time,  doomed  to  be  born  again  on 
earth,  in  the  heavens,  or  in  the  purgatories  of  pain,  according 
to  the  character  of  their  thoughts  and  desires.  For  the  fruit  of 
desire  is  destiny,  and  so  the  activated  individual,  linked  to  the 
causal  round  by  the  delicate  but  tough  and  durable  filaments 
of  his  own  desire,  goes  on  from  existence  to  existence— earthly, 
celestial,  and  infernal— now  as  man,  now  as  beast,  now  as  a  god, 
unable  to  break  away  and  into  the  peace  beyond. 

Kama-loka  comprises  in  its  lower  levels  the  hells  or  purga- 
tories of  pain,  as  well  as  the  ghostly  region  of  specters  (prelas). 
the  region  of  giant-monsters  that  devour  beasts  and  men 
(taksasas),  the  region  of  the  anti-gods  or  titans  (asititi\).  that  ol 
the  goblins  (kumbhandas),  the  kingdom  of  the  serpentlike 
water-gods  (nagas),  and  the  domain  of  the  household-deities 
(yaksas:  fertility-gods  surviving  from  the  archaic  pre-Aryan 
civilization,  who  now  serve  as  attendants  of  the  deities  Kubera 
and  SivaV  The  middle  realm  of  men  and  beasts  is  on  the  earthly 
plane,  while  above,  still  ruled  by  Kama  (the  supreme  personifi- 
cation of  the  allure  of  the  transient  world),  are  the  kingdom  of 
the  winged  birdlike  gods  of  the  atmosphere  (garudas)  and  the 
paradise  of  the  celestial  musicians  {gandharvai)— the  last  named 
being  men  reborn  to  the  sensual  pleasures  of  the  lower  heavens, 
where  they  enjoy  the  companionship  and  love  of  heavenly  dam- 
sels (apsarases).  The  progressively  rarefied  spheres  of  (he  gods 
are  represented  as  superimposed,  one  upon  another,  up  the 
terraced  slopes  of  Mount  Sumeru,  the  great  central  mountain  of 
the  world,  which,  like  a  gigantic  Babylonian  ziggurat— a  natural, 
cosmic  tower  of  Babel— lifts  its  summit  into  the  loftiest  spheres  of 
celestial  bliss,  and  then  soars  beyond.  What  lies  beyond  is 
Brahma-loka,  the  realm  of  formless  being  and  purely  spiritual 


bliss.  But  the  power  of  Kama  reaches  even  there.  For  the  uni- 
verse is  the  production  of  the  divine  will  (iccha)  or  desire 
(kama)— the  wish  of  the  One  to  be  many.  All  spheres  of  being 
stand  generated  and  supported  by  that  first  creative  impulse. 
On  the  carnal  plane  it  operates  through  the  mystery  of  sex;  on 
the  highest,  it  is  the  will  of  the  Creator.  Kama  therefore  is  "the 
first  of  the  gods"— but  the  youngest  too,  as  born  again  every  day 
in  the  meeting  and  mating  of  creatures  throughout  the  course 
of  time.  Kama  is  the  power  and  process  whereby  the  One  begets 
Itself  as  man,  beast,  or  plant,  and  thus  carries  forward  the  con- 
tinued creation  of  the  universe.  Kama  is  the  conjunction  of 
eternity  and  time,  through  which  that  abundance  becomes  this 
abundance,  and  the  non-manifest  is  made  manifest  in  all  the 
beings  of  the  cosmos,  from  Brahma  down  to  the  blade  of  grass. 

In  Buddhist  (as  distinguished  from  Hindu)  iconography 
three  created  realms  (lokas),  or  ranging-grounds  into  which 
beings  may  descend  to  be  reborn  (avacaras),  are  described.  The 
first  and  lowest  is  Kama-loka,  "the  world  of  desires";  the  next 
is  Rupa-Ioka,  "the  world  of  pure  forms  (beyond  desire)";  while 
the  highest  is  A-rupa-loka,  "the  world  without  forms,  the  form- 
less realm."  These  conceptions  represent  and  are  based  on  the 
common  experiences  of  yoga.  As  the  process  of  introvert  ab- 
sorption deepens  and  the  sphere  of  extrovert  experiences  drops 
away,  higher,  deeper,  more  rarefied  spheres  of  experience  are 
attained.  And  these  are  themselves  then  found  to  be  subdivided 
into  many  stratifications,  each  inhabited  by  a  class  of  subtle 
celestial  beings. 

According  to  the  early  Buddhist  legends,  when  Gautama 
Sakyamuni  was  seated  under  the  Bo  Tree,  on  the  point  of 
breaking  past  all  forms  and  realms  whatsoever  into  the  timeless 
infinite  of  the  Void,  Kama  appeared  to  him  in  the  form  of  a 
youth  carrying  a  lute,  and  sought  to  tempt  him  from  his  world- 
transcending  task.  One  of  the  names  applied  to  Kama  in  these 
Buddhist  texts  is  that  of  an  old  Vedic  demon,  Namuci,  a  word 


commonly  interpreted  as  "he  who  does  not  (no)  let  go  (muc)." 
By  supplying  every  creature  with  something  of  the  joys  oF 
life  Kama  as  Namuri  holds  all  spellbound,  so  that  the  pro- 
duced beings  fall  prey,  again  and  again,  to  death.  Hence  he  is 
also  called  "The  Evil  One"  (paptyari),  or  simply  "Death" 
(mam).*  Kama  and  Mara,  the  joy  of  life  and  the  grip  of  death, 
are  respectively  the  bait  and  the  hook— the  delights  of  the  loaded 
table  and  the  price  to  be  paid— the  dinner  and  the  check,  which 
here  is  mortality,  suffering,  and  tears;  la  doukntrensc ,  "the  pain- 
ful hour  of  payment,"  ends  the  carousel.  Thus  the  supreme 
seducer,  oldest  of  the  gods  and  supporter  of  the  world,  has  for 
all  beings  a  dual  aspect— as  have  all  the  gods  and  all  the  forces 
of  life.  They  are  at  once  attractive  and  destructive,  merciful 
and  merciless,  desirable  and  appalling.  In  the  picture-languages 
of  the  Buddhist  and  Hindu  iconographies,  all  superhuman  be- 
ings and  presences  are  ambivalent  and  ambiguous  in  this  way. 
Life  in  the  world  is  described  as  an  excruciating  paradox— the 
more  alive,  the  more  difficult  to  bear:  a  sea  of  suffering,  de- 
lusory delights,  deceitful  promises,  and  dismaying  realizations: 
the  sea,  indeed,  of  the  fecund,  self-sustaining,  self-consuming 
madness  of  the  fish. 

The  Buddha,  so  the  legend  tells  us,  broke  the  power  of  the 
god  of  death  and  desire  (on  whose  banner  is  displayed  the  em- 
blem of  the  fish)  and  passed  beyond.  The  dual  delusion  dis- 
solved from  him,  and  his  released  consciousness  united  with  the 
Reality  of  the  Void.  All  men  are  destined  for  that  transcendent 
end.  As  we  shall  see,  the  whole  concern  of  the  major  portion 
of  Indian  philosophy  is  the  way  to  such  release  (moksa)  from 
the  world-bounding,  binding  power  of  the  divine  being  "who 
does  not  let  go,"  the  cosmic  magician,  Namuci.5  And  throughout 

*  Mara,  literally  "he  who  kills,  or  makes  'die'  (mar/';  compare  the  Latin 
mors,  mor-tts,  and  mor-tal,  mor-tality, 

0  Na-muci  and  moksa  both  are  derived  from  the  root  muc:  "let  go,  re- 
lease"; the  former  with  the  negative  prefix  na-. 
J  44 


(he  traditional  literature  on  the  subject,  the  first  step  to  this 
goal  of  goals  is  described  as  the  refusal  of  Kama's  bait,  his 
tempting  table,  the  abundance  of  the  world.  This,  however, 
does  not  prevent  the  great  majority— in  India,  as  everywhere 
in  this  vast  "grazing  ground"— from  devoting  themselves  exclu- 
sively to  the  pursuit  of  the  bitter-sweet  delusion. 

The  Hindu  handbooks  of  the  art  of  love,  composed  for  those 
who  are  st ill  dedicated  to  the  work  of  continuing  the  creation, 
strictly  disregard  the  discouraging  insights  and  devastating  as- 
cetic prescriptions  of  those  who  have  broken  tree— except  in 
so  far  as  sophisticated  reflections  about  the  transiency  of  de- 
light may  add  to  love  and  life  a  certain  exquisite  thrill.  The  case 
is  similar  to  that  of  the  Hindu  handbooks  of  the  science  of  pol- 
itics, where  all  the  principles  of  virtue  are  disregarded  except 
in  so  far  as  a  mask  of  morality  may  serve  the  purpose  of  the 
power  specialist.  Fundamentally,  the  doctrine  and  technique 
of  Kama  go  back  to  primitive  antiquity.  They  belong  to  that 
science  and  art  of  love-magic  (the  lore  of  charms,  spells,  and 
love-philters)  which  is  a  dominant  concern  of  all  primitive 
traditions.  In  that  sense  they  are  definitely  pre-Buddhistic,  pre- 
Vediintic,8  and  are  innocent  of,  rather  than  antagonistic  to,  the 
developed  monastic  ideal  and  techniques  of  renunciation. 

Kama,  the  Sanskrit  noun,  denotes  the  whole  range  of  possi- 
ble experience  within  the  sphere  of  love,  sex,  sensual  gratifica- 
tion, and  delight.  Kama  is  "wish,  desire,  carnal  gratification, 
lust,  love,  and  affection."  The  earliest  Indian  documents  on 
the  subject  appear  in  the  most  antique  stratifications  of  Vedic 
popular  priestcraft  and  witchcraft;  charms  of  love  being  nu- 
merous and  conspicuous,  for  example,  in  the  text  of  the  Atharva- 
veda.  Love-life  here  means  primarily  family  life,  married  life, 
and  the  principal  and  original  aim  of  the  doctrine  was  simply 
to  make  this  love-life  a  success,  i.e.,  to  produce  a  happy,  har- 
monious family:  a  happy  husband,  happy  wife  and  mother,  and 

■  Cf.  supra,  pp.  8  and  18,  Editor's  notes. 


numerous  healthy,  promising  children,  preferably  sons.  For 
sons  are  indispensable  for  continuing  the  lineage  and  ensuring 
the  unbroken  maintenance  of  the  family  cult  of  ancestor- 
offerings  by  which  the  souls  of  the  deceased  "Fathers"  are  sup- 
ported in  the  "Realm  of  the  Fathers"  (pitr-loka).  Daughters,  on 
the  other  hand,  are  expensive  and  delicate  burdens.  One  lias  to 
arrange  and  provide  for  a  suitable  marriage,  with  due  regard  to 
the  requirements  of  caste  and  social  position;  and  then  one 
never  knows  quite  what  to  expect  of  the  son-in-law  who  has  thus 
been  so  troublesomely  acquired.  The  house  prospers  inevitably 
with  sons;  whereas  with  daughters,  there  is  generally  anxiety 
and  expense.  The  hints  we  have  of  the  earliest  Kama  tradition 
include  recipes  and  rituals  for  begetting  male  children,  keeping 
oneself  youthful  and  healthy,  becoming  and  remaining  attrac- 
tive, and  making  married  love-life  a  success. 

A  brief  review  of  the  list  of  charms  in  the  Atharva-veda  de- 
voted to  the  work  of  Kama  will  suffice  to  indicate  the  scope  and 
character  of  the  problems  as  they  were  understood  and  ap- 
proached in  that  time.  This  old  Vedic  material  has  never  been 
studied  and  treated  in  comparison  with  the  much  later  formulae 
preserved  to  us  in  such  works  as  Vatsyayana's  Kamasutra,  yet  it 
discloses  the  originally  sacred  and  authoritative  character  of  the 
doctrine  that  appears  in  the  later  works  in  a  rather  secularized, 
worldly  form— as  a  kind  of  ars  amandi  for  courtesans  and  gentle- 
men-about-town.  Roughly,  a  thirteenth  part  of  the  whole  of 
the  ancient  Atharva-veda  (41  items  out  of  the  536  hymns,  pray- 
ers, incantations,  and  charms— not  an  overwhelming,  but  cer- 
tainly a  significant  and  wholesome,  portion  of  the  total  compila- 
tion) is  devoted  to  the  magic  of  this  basic  and  immensely 
important  human  subject.  The  following  list  will  give  a  notion 
of  the  scope  of  the  early  hymns  and  charms:  7 

7  The  titles  are  those  given  by  the  translators.  William  Dwight  Whitney 
and  Charles  Rockwell  Lanman,  in  their  Atharva-Veda,  Harvard  Oriental 
Scries,  Vols.  VII  and  VIII,  Cambridge,  Mass.,  1905.  The  numbers  in  paren- 



For  successful  childbirth  (1 1) 

Imprecation  of  spinsterhood  on  a  woman  (14) 

A  love  spell,  willi  a  sweet  herb  (34) 

To  secure  a  woman's  love  (72) 

To  get  a  husband  for  a  woman  (81) 

Against  a  rival  wile,  with  a  plant  (117) 

For  fecundity  (127) 

To  command  a  woman's  love  (130) 

For  recovery  of  virility,  with  a  plant  (149) 

(The  incantation  of  the  lover  entering  the  gill's  home  by 

night:)  To  put  (he  household  to  sleep  (151) 
For  successful  conception  (265) 
Two  charms,  to  win  a  woman's  love  (287) 
For  birth  of  sons  (288) 
Against  premature  birth  (293) 
Against  jealousy  (293) 
For  winning  a  spouse  (325) 
For  matrimonial  happiness  (339) 
For  successful  pregnancy,  with  an  amulet  (341) 
To  obtain  a  wife  (342) 
To  win  affection  (347) 
For  virile  power  (354) 
To  win  a  woman  (355) 
Two  charms,  to  win  a  man's  love  (379) 
To  compel  a  man's  love  (380) 
For  progeny  (401) 
Against  a  rival  woman  (111) 
Husband  and  wife  to  one  another  (411) 
The  wife  to  the  husband  (412) 
To  win  and  fix  a  man's  love,  with  a  plant  (412) 
To  cure  jealousy  (416) 
To  destroy  one's  virile  power  (454) 

theses  refer  to  the  pages  of  the  Whitney-Lanman  volumes:  pages  1-170  arc  in 
Vol.  VII,  451-1052  in  VIII. 



Against  a  woman  rival,  with  a  plant  (467) 

To  guard  a  pregnant  woman  from  demons  (493) 

To  Kama  (521) 

Magic  stanzas  for  marriage  ceremonies  (740-753) 

Of  and  to  Desire  (Kama)  (985) 

The  worries  and  difficulties  of  married  life  in  Vedic  times, 
apparently,  were  much  the  same  as  those  that  we  know  in  the 
world  today.  And  the  remedies  offered  by  the  Kama-material 
of  the  Atharva-vcda  are  the  (lassie  ones  of  all  ages:  medical 
treatment  in  the  form  of  herhs,  plants,  and  philters;  suggestion 
and  persuasion,  enhanced  by  magic  objects  (amulets);  eugenics; 
mental  and  emotional  hygiene— attunement,  adjustment;  all 
couched  in  terms  of  magic,  and  administered  by  the  priest- 
magician  medicine  man— archaic  archetype  of  those  modern 
wizards  of  the  psyche,  the  consulting  psychoanalyst  and  the 
family  doctor.  On  the  other  hand,  some  of  the  charms  are  sim- 
ply household-medicine,  used  by  man  or  wife  without  the 
assistance  of  the  priest-wizard:  love-charms  against  rivals,  etc. 

Kama  is  of  the  essence  of  magic,  magic  of  the  essence  of  love; 
for  among  nature's  own  spells  and  charms  that  of  love  and  sex 
is  pre-eminent.  This  is  the  witchcraft  that  compels  life  to  prog- 
ress from  one  generation  to  the  next,  the  spell  that  binds  all 
creatures  to  the  cycle  of  existences,  through  deaths  and  births. 
It  would  be  impossible  to  imagine  a  compendium  of  magic  lore 
without  its  due  assortment  of  love-charms.  The  Latin  carmen, 
"magic  priestly  song  (conjuring  up  the  powers,  warding  demons 
away),"  our  English  "charm"  (which  meant,  originally,  "magic 
stanza,  the  conjuring  sing-song  that  works  a  spell"),  and  such 
kindred  terms  as  "incantation,"  "enchantment,"  "enchanting," 
"enchanter,"  all  point  back  10  the  magic  song  or  spell;  likewise 
the  French  enchante,  drsrn  chart  ft1,  and  charme.  A  singer,  a 
soprano,  tine  cantatrice,  is  an  enchantress;  so  too  the  tenor  who 
"puts  a  spell"  upon  the  audience.  Love,  song,  and  the  divine 



intoxicating  potion  that  brings  the  god  himself  threading 
through  the  veins  have  for  millenniums  been  associated  with 
each  other,  not  only  blithely,  in  the  dreams  of  youth,  but  also 
desperately,  in  the  black  riles  of  the  witch's  art. 

The  early  Indian  magic  lore  of  love  seems  to  have  been 
known  and  preserved  in  esoteric  doctrines  by  the  warrior-clans 
outside  the  priestly  families  themselves.  The  treatment  of  the 
subject  was  profoundly  inspired  by  a  sense  of  the  holy  mystery 
ol  lilc,  whereas  in  the  highly  technical  later  handbooks  on  the 
art  of  pleasure  it  is  comparath  ely  cut  and  dried.  The  famous 
Hiahman  Svctakeui  seems  to  have  been  one  ol  the  lirst  redac- 
tors of  handbooks  ol  this  kind. lie  is  described  in  the  sixth  book 
ol  the  Clumdonya  Ujmiiisarl  as  receiving  from  his  father,  I'dda- 
laka  Aruni,  the  key  to  all  knowledge,  in  the  form  of  the  Vedic 
"great  formula"  (maha-vakya),  "Thou  <\rt  That"  (tat  Ix'twi  asi). 
Klsewherc  he  is  celebrated  as  the  model  Brahman  of  that  classic, 
somewhat  one-sided  type  that  wc  know  Irom  many  orthodox 
sources.  He  was  in  perfect  command  of  the  sacred  lore,  but, 
apparently,  not  equally  at  home  in  the  sphere  of  secular  phi- 
losophy. No  doubt  it  was  through  such  hands  as  his  that  the 
archaic  Kama-wisdom  lost  its  scope  and  depth.  The  richness  of 
the  topic  as  it  was  understood  in  later  Vedic  times,  when  it  con- 
stituted one  of  the  departments  of  household  wisdom,  has  been 
drained  away,  as  the  result  of  much  epitomizing  and  reducing. 
From  this  later  literature  on  the  art  of  love  there  is  little  to  be 
extracted  by  way  of  metaphysics  or  philosophy. 

The  major  text  is  the  justly  celebrated  Kdmasutra'  of  the 
Brahman  Vatsyayana,  composed  in  the  third  or  fourth  century 
a.d.  This  is  a  masterly  yet  very  much  condensed  and  all  too 
abbreviated  version  of  the  materials  of  the  earlier  tradition. 
A  few  later  and  minor  treatises  composed  in  verse,  which  in 
part  show  a  more  archaic  character  than  the  classic  Kamasutra, 
communicate  a  greater  sense  of  what  the  larger  doetiine  must 

8  "The  aphorisms  (sutra)  of  the  technique  of  making  love  (kdma)." 


have  been.  Among  these  may  be  named  Pancasayaka,  "The  God 
with  the  Five  Arrows,"  composed  some  time  alter  the  eleventh 
century  a.d.;  Ratirahasya,  "The  Secret  Doctrine  of  Love's  De- 
light," which  is  somewhat  earlier  than  the  thirteenth  century; 
and  Anahgaranga,  "The  Stage  of  the  Bodiless  God,"  dating 
probably  from  the  sixteenth  century  a.d.  Occasional  fragments 
preserved  in  the  Upanisads  also  serve  to  indicate  the  rich,  pro- 
found, and  holy  awe  in  which  the  sacred  act  was  held,  through 
which  the  God  of  gods  continued  his  creation,  pressing  it  on 
through  the  generations  of  the  great  Brahmanic  and  the  great 
kingly  houses.  The  knowledge  of  that  erotic  practical  philos- 
ophy is  for  the  present  all  but  lost." 

0 Editor's  note:  Here  Dr.  Zimmcr's  notes  on  this  subject  break  off.  His  in- 
tention was  to  continue  his  study  with  an  analysis  of  the  textbooks  of  acting 
(cf.  supra,  pp.  39-40),  and  to  amplify  his  treatment  of  the  earlier  tradition 
by  reviewing  the  pertinent  passages  in  the  Upanisads.  The  thaptei  as  jji\en 
<tbove  represents  but  a  puliniinaiy  skelili. 




Caste  and  the  Four  Life-Stages 

In  India  everybody  wears  ihe  tokens  of  the  department  of  life 
to  which  he  belongs.  He  is  recognizable  at  first  glance  by  his 
dress  and  ornaments  and  the  marks  of  his  caste  and  trade  class. 
Every  man  has  the  symbol  of  his  tutelary  deity  painted  on  his 
forehead,  by  which  sign  he  is  placed  and  kept  under  the  god's 
protection.  Maiden,  mairied  woman,  widow:  each  wears  a  dis- 
tinctive costume.  And  to  eacli  pertains  a  clear-cut  set  of  stand- 
ards and  taboos,  meticulously  defined,  scrupulously  followed. 
What  to  eat  and  what  not  to  eat,  what  to  approach  and  what 
to  shun,  with  whom  to  converse,  .share  meals,  and  intermarry: 
such  personal  affairs  are  minutely  regulated,  with  severe  and 
exacting  penalties  for  accidental  as  well  as  for  intentional 
infringement.  The  idea  is  to  preserve  without  pollution-by- 
contact  the  specific  spiritual  force  on  which  one's  efficacy  as  a 
member  of  a  part  icular  social  species  depends. 

For  in  so  far  as  the  individual  is  a  functioning  component 

of  the  complex  social  organism,  his  concern  must  be  to  become 

identified  with  the  tasks  and  interests  of  his  social  Tole,  and 

even  to  shape  to  this  his  public  and  private  character.  The 



whole  group  takes  precedence  over  any  of  its  components.  All 
self-expression,  as  we  know  and  care  for  it,  is  therefore  ruled 
out,  the  precondition  lo  participation  in  the  group  consisting 
not  in  cultivating,  but  in  dissolving,  personal  tendencies  and 
idiosyncrasies.  The  supreme  virtue  is  to  become  assimilated— 
wholeheartedly  and  without  residue— to  the  timeless,  imme- 
morial, absolutely  impersonal  mask  of  the  classic  role  into  which 
one  has  been  brought  by  birth  (jati).  The  individual  is  thus 
compelled  to  become  anonymous.  And  this  is  regarded,  further- 
more, as  a  process  not  of  self-dissolution  but  of  self-discovery; 
for  the  key  to  the  realization  of  one's  present  incarnation  lies 
in  the  virtues  of  one's  present  caste. 

Caste  is  regarded  as  forming  an  innate  part  of  character.  The 
divine  moral  order  {dharma)  by  which  the  social  structure  is 
knit  together  and  sustained  is  the  same  as  that  which  gives  con- 
tinuity to  the  lives  of  the  individual;  and  just  as  the  present 
is  to  be  understood  as  a  natural  consequence  of  the  past,  so  in 
accordance  with  the  manner  in  which  the  present  role  is  played 
will  the  caste  of  the  future  be  determined.  Not  only  one's  caste 
and  trade,  furthermore,  but  also  all  the  things  that  happen  to 
one  (even  though  apparently  through  the  slightest  chance), 
are  determined  by,  and  exactly  appropriate  to,  one's  nature  and 
profoundest  requirement.  The  vital,  malleable  episode  at  hand 
points  back  to  former  lives;  it  is  their  result— the  natural  effect 
of  bygone  causal  factors  operating  on  the  plane  of  ethical  values, 
human  virtues,  and  personal  qualities,  in  accordance  with  uni- 
versal natural  laws  of  elective  attraction  and  sjx>ntaneous  re- 
pulsion. What  a  person  is  and  what  he  experiences  are  regarded 
as  strictly  commensurate,  like  the  inside  and  the  outside  of  a  vase. 

The  correct  manner  of  dealing  with  every  life  problem  that 
arises,  therefore,  is  indicated  l>v  the  laws  (dharma)  of  the  caste 
(varna)  to  which  one  belongs,  and  of  the  particular  stage-of-life 
(airama)  that  is  proper  to  one's  age.  One  is  not  free  to  choose; 
one  belongs  to  a  species— a  family,  guild  and  craft,  a  group,  a 


denomination.  And  since  this  circumstance  not  only  determines 
to  the  last  detail  the  regulations  for  one's  public  and  private 
conduct,  but  also  represents  (according  to  this  all-inclusive  and 
pervasive,  unyielding  pattern  ol  integration)  the  real  ideal  of 
one's  present  natural  character,  one's  concern  as  a  judging  and 
acting  entity  must  be  only  to  meet  every  life  problem  in  a 
manner  befitting  the  role  one  plays.  Whereupon  the  two  as- 
pects of  the  temporal  event— the  subjective  and  the  objective- 
will  be  joined  exactly,  and  the  individual  eliminated  as  a  third, 
intrusive  factor.  He  will  then  bring  into  manifestation  not 
tile  temporal  accident  of  his  own  personality,  but  the  vast,  im- 
personal, cosmic  law,  and  so  will  be,  not  a  faulty,  but  a  perfect 
glass:  anonymous  and  sell-effacing.  For  by  the  rigorous  practice 
of  prescribed  virtues  one  actually  tan  efface  oneself,  dissolving 
e\entually  the  last  quirk  of  impulse  and  personal  resistance— 
thus  gaining  release  from  the  little  boundary  of  the  personality 
and  absorption  in  the  boundlessness  of  universal  being.  Dharma 
is  therefore  fraught  with  power.  It  is  the  burning  point  of  the 
whole  present,  past,  and  future,  as  well  as  the  way  through 
which  to  pass  into  the  transcendental  consciousness  and  bliss  of 
the  purest  spiritual  Self-existence. 

Kvcrybody  is  born  to  his  own  place  (sva-dliarma)  in  the 
phantasmagoric  display  of  creative  power  that  is  the  world,  and 
his  first  duty  is  to  show  it,  to  live  up  to  it,  to  make  known  by 
both  his  appearance  and  his  actions  just  what  part  of  the  spec- 
tat  le  he  is.  Every  feminine  being  is  a  manifestation  on  earth  of 
the  universal  Mother,  a  personification  of  the  productive,  allur- 
ing aspect  of  the  holy  mystery  that  supports  and  continually 
creates  the  world.  The  married  woman  is  to  be  all  decency;  the 
harlot  is  to  pride  herself  on  her  ability  to  keep  her  allurements 
effective  and  sell  her  charms.  The  mother  and  housewife  is  to 
breed  sons  without  cease,  and  to  worship  her  husband  as  the 
human  embodiment  of  all  the  gods.  Husband  and  wife  are  to 
approach  each  other  as  two  divinities;  for  he,  through  her,  is 


reborn  in  his  sons,  just  as  the  Creator  is  made  manifest  in  the 
forms  and  creatures  of  the  world  through  the  magical  operation 
of  his  own  power,  his  sakti,  personified  in  his  goddess.  And  as 
the  male  member  of  the  community  is  co-ordinated  to  the  whole 
through  the  particular  religious  devotions  and  services  proper 
to  his  social  position,  so  the  wife  is  co-ordinated  to  society  as  the 
sakti  of  her  spouse.  Her  service  to  him  is  her  religion,  just  as 
his  religion  is  the  service  to  his  "Fathers"  and  the  deities  of  his 
vocation.  Thus  the  whole  of  life  is  lived  as,  and  understood  to 
be,  a  service  to  the  Divine,  all  things  being  known  as  images  of 
the  one  and  universal  Lord. 

Every  profession  has  its  special  tutelary  divinity,  who  em- 
bodies and  personifies  the  very  skill  of  the  trade,  and  wields  or 
exhibits  its  tools  as  his  distinguishing  attributes.  The  tutelary 
divinity  of  writers,  poets,  intellectuals,  and  priests,  for  example, 
is  the  goddess  Sarasvati  Vac:  the  goddess  of  riverlike,  streaming 
speech.  And  the  patroness  of  magic  priestcraft,  Brahmanhood, 
is  Savitn:  not  the  human  princess,  daughter  of  King  Asvapati, 
who,  according  to  the  legend,  rescued  her  husband.  Prince 
Satyavan,  from  the  dominion  of  King  Death,  but  the  female 
counterpart  and  divine  energy,  sakti,  of  Savitar-Brahma,  the 
Creator  of  the  world;  she  is  the  all-moving,  all-inspiring,  divine 
principle  of  creation.  Kama,  the  Hindu  Cupid,  is  the  tutelary 
divinity  of  courtesans,  and  of  those  who  stand  in  need  of  the 
lessons  of  the  kama£astra,  the  authorized  code  of  traditional 
revealed  wisdom  in  the  lore  of  love  and  sex.1  While  ViSvakar- 
man,  the  divine  "Expert  of  All  Crafts,"  the  carpenter,  architect, 
and  master  craftsman  of  the  gods,  is  the  patron  deity  of  work- 
men, artisans,  and  artists. 

Each  of  these,  representing  the  principle  and  sum  total  of  a 
certain  highly  specialized  department  of  knowledge  and  skill, 
is  a  jealous  and  exclusive  god  and  master.  The  human  creature 
called  by  birth  to  the  deity's  service  is  to  dedicate  all  of  his 

1  Cf.  supra,  pp.  140-150. 



powers  and  devotion  to  worship;  the  slightest  failure  can  entail 
disaster.  Like  a  mistress,  charming  and  generous  i£  faithfully 
and  exclusively  served,  but  baleful,  wrathful,  terrific,  if  not 
duly  paid  her  whole  requirement,  the  god  blossoms  like  a  flower, 
yielding  sweetness,  fragrance,  and  fruit  abundantly  foi  the 
devotee  of  perfect  concentration,  but  otherwise  is  touchy  and  re 
vengeful.  India's  static,  departmentalized,  and  mutually  co 
operative  hierarchy  of  the  crafts  and  professions,  that  is  to  say; 
demands  and  inculcates  the  most  extreme  one-sidedness.  There 
is  to  be  no  choice,  no  floundering  around,  no  sowing  of  wild 
oats.  From  the  very  first  breath  of  life,  the  individual's  energies 
are  mastered,  trained  into  channels,  and  co-ordinated  to  the 
general  work  ol  the  superindividual  who  is  the  holy  society 

This  depersonalizing  principle  of  specialization  is  pressed 
even  further  by  the  subdivision  of  the  ideal  life-course  of  the 
individual  into  four  stages  (airama).  The  first  stage,  that  of  the 
pupil  {antevasin),  is  ruled  exclusively  by  obedience  and  sub- 
mission. The  pupil,  eager  to  receive,  under  the  magic  spell  of 
the  spiritual  teacher,  the  whole  charge,  the  total  transference,  of 
the  divine  knowledge  and  magic  craft  of  his  vocation,  seeks  to 
be  nothing  but  the  sacred  vessel  into  which  that  precious  es- 
sence (lows.  Symbolically,  by  the  spiritual  umbilical  cord  of  the 
"sacred  thread"  with  which  he  is  solemnly  invested,  he  is  linked 
to  his  guru  as  to  the  one  and  only,  all-sufficient  human  embodi- 
ment and  source  (for  him)  of  superhuman  spiritual  nourish- 
ment. Strict  chastity  {brahvmcarya)  is  enjoined;  and  if  through 
any  experience  with  the  other  sex  he  violates  this  interdict, 
thereby  breaking  the  continuity  of  the  life-generating,  life- 
begetting  intimacy  and  identification  with  the  guru,  the  most 
severe  and  complex  punishments  descend  upon  him.  This  is  the 
period  for  iraddha  (blind  faith  in  the  master-technician  who 
knows  the  path),  and  hi.Wusa  (the  will  and  desire  to  "hear" 
(iru)  and  to  learn  by  heart;  to  hear,  to  obey,  and  to  conform). 


This  is  the  period  when  the  mere  natural  man,  the  human  ani- 
mal, is  to  be  absolutely  sacrificed,  and  the  life  of  man  in  the 
spirit,  the  supranormal  wisdom-power  of  the  "twice-born,"  to 
be  made  effective  in  the  flesh. 

Then,  abruptly,  when  the  stage  of  pupilship  is  finished,  and 
without  any  transitional  period,  the  youth,  now  a  man,  is  trans- 
ferred—one  might  say,  hurled— into  married  life,  the  stage  ol 
householdership  (grhastha).  Taking  over  the  paternal  cratt, 
business,  or  profession,  he  receives  a  wife  (chosen  for  him  by  his 
parents),  begets  sons,  supports  the  family,  and  does  his  best  to 
identity  himself  with  all  the  tasks  and  ideal  roles  of  the  tradi- 
tional paler  families,  member  of  the  guild,  etc.  The  young  fa 
ther  identifies  himself  with  the  delights  and  worries  of  married 
life  (ktima),  as  well  as  with  the  classic  interests  and  problems  ol 
propcity  and  wealth  (artha),  so  that  he  may  have  the  means  at 
his  disposal,  not  only  to  support  his  growing  family  according 
to  the  standards  proper  to  his  birth  or  human  species  (jati),  bill 
also  10  meet  the  more  or  less  costly  demands  of  the  orthodox 
sacramental  cycle  of  rituals.  For  the  house-priest,  the  l.rahman- 
gurti,  whom  he  now  must  employ  and  heed— even  as  India  must 
employ  and  heed  the  divine  Brhaxpati 2— blesses  and  assists  the 
family  on  even'  possible  occasion,  as  a  combination  spiritual 
adviser  and  confessor,  family  donor,  consulting  practical  ps\- 
chologist,  exorcist,  conjuror,  and  wizard.  And  these  professional 
men  charge  their  fees:  that  is  part  of  the  cause  of  the  real  ef- 
fectiveness of  their  cryptic,  holy,  psychotherapeutic  dealings.  The 
gurus,  linking  themselves  with  full  surrender  (like  everyone 
else  in  the  community)  to  the  privileges  and  duties  of  their  own 
immemorial  role,  serve  as  conduits  of  supernatural  wisdom  and 
holy  power  (brahman),  like  nerves  of  consciousness  throughout 
the  social  body. 

The  guru  tends  to  become  petrified  into  an  idol— just  as  every- 
one tends  to  become  petrified,  dchnrnani/cd,  stabilized,  and 
2  Cf.  supra,  pp.  76-77. 



pinged  of  spontaneous  individuality— in  proportion  to  the 
degree  of  pel  taction  he  achieves  in  the  intensely  styli7ed  en- 
actment of  his  timeless  role.  In  the  second  half  of  the  individ- 
ual's life  cycle,  therefore,  these  brittle  roles  are  to  be  put  aside. 
Having  identified  himself  wholly  with  the  functions  of  his  so- 
cial personality  (his  social  actor's  mask,  or  persona),  he  must 
now  as  radically  step  away  from  that— throw  off  possessions  and 
all  the  concerns  of  wealth  (arlha),  break  from  the  desires  and 
anxieties  of  his  now  flowered  and  variously  fruitful  lile-in- 
marriage  (kiima),  turn  even  from  the  duties  of  society  (dliarrna) 
which  have  linked  him  to  the  universal  manifestation  of  Im- 
perishable Being  through  the  stable  archetypes  of  the  human 
tragicomedy.  His  sons  are  now  bearing  the  joys  and  burdens  of 
the  world;  himself,  in  late  middle  life,  may  step  away.  And  so 
he  enters  upon  the  third  asrama,  that  of  the  "departure  to  the 
forest"  (vanajirastha).  For  we  are  not  only  social,  professional 
masks,  representing  ageless  roles  in  the  shadow-world  of  time, 
but  also  something  substantial;  namely,  a  Self.  We  belong,  can- 
not but  belong,  to  the  world,  yet  are  not  adequately  described 
by  our  caste  maiks  and  costume,  not  fathomed  to  our  essence 
by  secular  and  moral  functions.  Our  essence  transcends  this 
manifested  nature  and  everything  that  belongs  to  it,  our  prop- 
erty, delights,  our  rights  and  duties,  and  our  relationship  to  the 
ancestors  and  the  gods.  To  seek  to  reach  that  unnamed  essence 
is  to  enter  upon  the  path  of  the  quest  for  the  Self;  and  this  is 
the  aim  and  end  of  the  third  of  the  four  life-stages. 

The  man  and  wife  in  the  period  of  the  retreat  to  the  forest 
put  off  the  cares,  duties,  joys,  and  interests  that  linked  them  to 
the  world  and  begin  the  difficult  inward  quest.  And  yet,  not 
even  this  idyl  of  the  life  of  holiness  in  the  forest  can  mark  the 
end  of  their  adventure;  for,  like  the  first  period— that  of  student- 
flood— this  is  only  a  preparation.  In  the  fourth  and  last  asrama— 
that  of  the  wandering  holy  beggar  (bhiksu)—no  longer  linked  to 
any  exercise,  no  longer  linked  to  any  place,  but  "taking  no 


thought  of  the  future  and  looking  with  indifference  upon  the 
present,"  s  the  homeless  wanderer  "lives  identified  with  the  eter- 
nal Self  and  beholds  nothing  else."  *  "He  no  more  cares  whether 
his  body,  spun  of  the  threads  of  karma,  falls  or  remains,  than 
docs  a  cow  what  becomes  of  the  garland  that  someone  has  hung 
around  her  neck;  for  the  faculties  of  his  mind  are  now  at  rest  in 
the  Holy  Power  (brahman),  the  essence  of  bliss."  5 

Originally,  Jaina  saints  went  about  "clothed  in  space" 
idigambara),  i.e.,  stark  naked,  as  a  sign  that  they  did  not  belong 
to  any  recognized  group,  sect,  trade,  or  community.  They  had 
discarded  all  determining  marks;  for  determination  is  negation 
bv  specialization."  In  the  same  spirit,  the  wandering  Buddhist 
monks  were  instructed  to  go  clad  in  rags,  or  else  in  an  ochre- 
colored  garment—the  latter  being  traditionally  the  garb  of  the 
criminal  ejected  from  society  and  condemned  to  death.  The 
monks  donned  this  disgraceful  raiment  as  a  sign  that  they  too 
were  dead  to  the  social  hieraichy.  They  had  been  handed  over 
to  death  and  were  beyond  the  boundaries  of  life.  They  had 
stepped  away  from  the  world's  limitations,  out  of  all  the  bond- 
ages of  belonging  to  something.  They  were  renegades.  Likewise, 
the  Brahman  pilgrim-mendicant  lias  always  been  likened  to  the 
wild  goose  or  swan  (harhsa),  which  has  no  fixed  home  but  wan- 
ders, migrating  with  the  rain-clouds  north  to  the  Himalayas  and 
back  south  again,  at  home  on  every  lake  or  sheet  of  water,  as 
also  in  the  infinite,  unbounded  reaches  of  the  sky. 

Religion  is  supposed  finally  to  release  us  from  the  desires  and 
fears,ambitions  and  commitments  of  secular  life— the  delusions  of 

3  Sankara,  Vivekacudamani  432;  compare  Luke  12:  22-30. 

4  /&.  457- 

a  Later  on,  as  a  concession,  the  Jaina  holy  men  donned  the  white 
garment  and  became  ivrtambara,  "clothed  in  white."  This  was  the  most 
non-committal  dress  that  they  could  find.  (See,  however,  infra,  p.  210, 
Editor's  note.) 



our  social,  professional,  and  family  interests;  for  religion  claims 
the  soul.  But  then  religion  is  necessarily  a  community  affair,  and 
so  itself  is  an  instrument  of  bondage,  tying  us  more  subtly,  by 
less  gross  and  therewith  more  insinuative  delusions.  Anyone  seek- 
ing to  transcend  the  tight  complacencies  of  his  community  must 
break  away  from  the  religious  congregation.  One  of  the  classic 
ways  of  doing  this  is  by  becoming  a  monk— joining,  that  is  to  say, 
still  another  institution,  this  time  dedicated  to  isolation  from, 
and  insurance  against,  the  ordinary  human  bondages.  Or  people 
take  the  step  into  the  forest,  becoming  hermit-solitaries— tied  now 
to  the  gentle  idyl  of  the  hermitage  and  the  innocent  details  of 
its  primitive  life-ritual.  Where  in  all  the  world  can  one  be  totally 

What  is  a  man  really,  behind  and  beyond  all  the  marks,  cos- 
tumes, implements,  and  activities  that  denote  his  civil  and  re- 
ligious status?  What  being  is  it  that  underlies,  supports,  and 
animates  all  the  states  and  changes  of  his  life's  shadowlike  be- 
coming? The  anonymities  of  the  forces  of  nature  that  operate 
within  him;  the  curious  performances,  successful  or  unsuccessful, 
upon  which  his  social  character  depends;  the  landscape  and  life 
incidental  to  his  time  and  place  of  birth;  the  materials  that  pass 
through  and  constitute  for  a  time  his  body,  charm  his  fancy,  and 
animate  his  imagination:  none  of  these  can  be  said  to  be  the  Sell. 

The  craving  for  complete  release  from  limitations,  which  is 
identical  with  the  craving  for  absolute  anonymity,  one  may  seek 
to  fulfill  by  turning  homeless  beggar-mendicant,  with  no  fixed 
place  to  lay  one's  head,  no  regular  road,  no  goal,  no  belongings. 
But  then— one  is  still  carrying  oneself  around.  All  those  strati- 
fications of  the  body  and  psyche  that  correspond  to  the  demands 
and  offerings  of  the  environment  and  link  one  to  the  world 
wherever  one  may  be  arc  present,  active  still.  To  reach  the  Abso- 
lute Man  (purusa)  that  is  sought,  one  must  somehow  discard 
those  garbs  and  obscuring  sheaths.  From  the  skin,  down  through 
the  intellect  and  emotions,  the  memory  of  things  past  and  the 


deep-rooted  habits  of  reaction— those  acquired  spontaneities,  the 
cherished  automatisms  of  one's  profoundly  rooted  likes  and  dis- 
likes—all must  be  cast  aside;  for  these  are  not  the  Self  but  "super- 
impositions,''  "colorings,"'  "besmearings"  (anjaiw),  of  its  intrinsic 
radiance  and  purity.  That  is  why  before  entering  upon  the  fourth 
asrama,  that  of  the  wandering  nonentity,  the  Hindu  practices 
the  psychological  exercises  of  the  third,  that  of  the  idyl  of  the 
forest.  He  must  put  off  himself  to  come  to  the  adamantine  Self. 
And  that  is  the  work  of  yoga.  Yoga,  Self-discovery,  and  then  the 
absolutely  unconditional  identification  of  oneself  with  the  anony- 
mous, ubiquitous,  and  impel  ishable  ground  of  all  existence,  con- 
stitute the  proper  end  ot  the  second  half  of  the  cycle  of  the 
orthodox  biography.  This  is  the  time  for  wiping  off  the  actor's 
paint  that  one  wore  on  the  universal  stage,  the  time  for  the 
recollection  and  release  of  the  unaffected  and  uninvolvetl,  yet 
all-sustaining  and  enacting,  living  Person  who  was  always  there. 


"Better  is  one's  own  dharma,  though  imperfectly  performed, 
than  the  dharma  of  another  well  performed.  Better  is  death  in 
the  performance  of  one's  own  dharma:  the  dharma  of  another  is 
fraught  with  peril." '  There  exists  in  India  an  ancient  belief  that 
the  one  who  has  enacted  his  own  dharma  without  a  single  fault 
throughout  the  whole  of  his  life  can  work  magic  by  the  simple 
act  of  calling  that  fact  to  witness.  This  is  known  as  making  an 

7  Bhagavad  Gita  3.35. 


"Act  of  Truth."  The  dharma  need  not  be  that  of  the  highest 
Brahman  caste  or  even  of  the  decent  and  respectable  classes  of 
the  human  community.  In  every  dharma,  Brahman,  the  Holy 
Power,  is  present. 

The  story  is  told,  for  example,  of  a  time  when  the  righteous 
Ling  Asoka,  greatest  of  the  great  North  Indian  dynasty  of  the 
Mauryas,"  "stood  in  the  city  of  Pataliputra,  surrounded  by  city 
folk  and  country  folk,  by  his  ministers  and  his  army  and  his  coun- 
cilors, with  the  Ganges  flowing  by,  filled  up  by  freshets,  level 
with  the  banks,  full  to  the  brim,  five  hundred  leagues  in  length, 
a  league  in  breadth.  Beholding  the  river,  he  said  to  his  minis- 
ters, 'Is  there  any  one  who  can  make  this  mighty  Ganges  flow 
back  upstream?'  To  which  the  ministers  replied,  'That  is  a 
hard  matter,  your  Majesty.' 

"Now  there  stood  on  that  very  river  bank  an  old  courtesan 
named  Bindumati,  and  when  she  heard  the  king's  question  she 
said,  'As  for  me,  I  am  a  courtesan  in  the  city  of  Pataliputra.  I 
live  by  my  beauty;  my  means  of  subsistence  is  the  lowest.  Let  the 
king  but  behold  my  Act  of  Truth.'  And  she  performed  an  Act  of 
Truth.  The  instant  she  performed  her  Act  of  Truth  that  mighty 
Ganges  flowed  back  upstream  with  a  roar,  in  the  sight  of  all  that 
mighty  throng. 

"When  the  king  heard  the  roar  caused  by  the  movement  of 
the  whirlpools  and  the  waves  of  the  mighty  Ganges,  he  was  aston- 
ished, and  filled  with  wonder  and  amazement.  Said  he  to  his  min- 
isters, 'How  comes  it  that  this  mighty  Ganges  is  flowing  back 
upstream?'  'Your  Majesty,  the  courtesan  Bindumati  heard  your 
words,  and  performed  an  Act  of  Truth.  It  is  because  of  her  Act 
of  Truth  that  the  mighty  Ganges  is  flowing  backwards.' 

"His  heart  palpitating  with  excitement,  the  king  himself  went 
posthaste  and  asked  the  courtesan,  'Is  it  true,  as  they  say,  that 
you,  by  an  Act  of  Truth,  have  made  this  river  Ganges  flow  back 
upstream?'  'Yes,  your  Majesty.'-Said  the  king,  'You  have  power 

•  CC.  supra,  p.  37. 



to  do  such  a  thing  as  this!  Who,  indeed,  unless  he  were  stark 
mad,  would  pay  any  attention  to  what  you  say?  By  what  power 
have  you  caused  this  mighty  Ganges  to  flow  back  upstream?'  Said 
the  courtesan,  'By  the  Power  of  Truth,  your  Majesty,  have  1 
caused  this  mighty  Ganges  to  flow  back  upstream.' 

"Said  the  king,  'You  possess  the  Power  of  Truth!  You,  a  thief, 
a  cheat,  corrupt,  cleft  in  twain,  vicious,  a  wicked  old  sinner  who 
have  broken  the  bounds  of  morality  and  live  on  the  plunder  of 
fools!'  'It  is  true,  your  Majesty;  I  am  what  you  say.  But  even  I, 
wicked  woman  that  I  am,  possess  an  Act  of  Truth  by  means  of 
which,  should  I  so  desiu'.  I  could  turn  the  world  of  men  and  the 
worlds  of  the  gods  upside  down.'  Said  the  king,  'But  what  is  this 
Act  of  Truth?  Pray  enlighten  me.' 

"  'Your  Majesty,  whosoever  gives  me  money,  be  he  a  Ksatriya 
ov  a  Brahman  or  a  Vaisya  or  a  Sudra  or  of  any  other  caste  soever. 
I  treat  them  all  exactly  alike.  If  he  be  a  Ksatriya,  I  make  no  dis- 
tinction in  his  favor.  If  he  be  a  Sudra,  I  despise  him  not.  Free 
alike  from  fawning  and  contempt,  I  serve  the  owner  of  the  money. 
This,  your  Majesty,  is  the  Act  of  Truth  by  which  I  caused  the 
mighty  Ganges  to  flow  back  upstream.'  "  ° 

just  as  day  and  night  alternate,  each  maintaining  its  own  form, 
and  support  by  their  opposition  the  character  of  the  processes  of 
time,  so  in  the  sphere  of  the  social  order  everyone  sustains  the 
totality  by  adhering  to  his  own  dharma.  The  sun  in  India  with- 
ers vegetation,  but  the  moon  restores  it,  sending  the  revivifying 
dew;  similarly,  throughout  the  universe  the  numerous  mutually 
antagonistic  elements  co-operate  by  working  against  each  other. 
The  rules  of  the  castes  and  professions  are  regarded  as  reflections 
in  the  human  sphere  of  the  laws  of  this  natural  order;  hence, 
when  adhering  to  those  rules  the  various  classes  are  felt  to  be 

9  Millndapanha  119-123.  (Cited  and  translated  by  Eugene  Watson  Bur- 
lingame,  "The  Art  of  Truth  (Sarcaluriya):  A  Hindu  Spell  and  Its  Employ- 
ment as  a  Psychic  Motif  in  Hindu  Fiction,"  Journal  of  the  Royal  Asiatic 
Society  of  Great  Britain  and  Ireland,  1917,  pp.  439-441.) 

collaborating,  even  when  apparently  in  conflict.  Each  race  or 
estate  following  its  proper  righteousness,  all  together  do  the  work 
of  the  cosmos.  J  his  is  the  service  hy  which  the  individual  is  lilted 
beyond  the  limitations  ol  his  personal  idiosyncrasies  and  con- 
verted into  a  living  conduit  ol  cosmic  force. 

The  Sanskrit  noun  dharrtm,  from  the  root  dhr,  "to  hold,  to 
bear,  to  carry"  (Latin  jero;  cf.  Anglo-Saxon  furan,  "to  travel,  to 
fare";  cf.  also,  "ferry"),  means  "that  which  holds  together,  sup- 
ports, upholds."  ]"  Dltarma,  as  we  have  seen,  relers  not  only  to  the 
whole  context  of  law  and  custom  (religion,  usage,  statute,  caste 
or  sect  observance,  manner,  mode  of  behavior,  duty,  ethics,  good 
works,  virtue,  religious  or  moral  merit,  justice,  piety,  impartial- 
ity), but  also  lo  the  essential  nature,  character,  or  quality  of  the 
individual,  as  a  result  of  which  his  duty,  social  function,  vocation, 
or  moral  standard  is  what  it  is.  Dharma  is  to  fail  just  before  the 
end  of  the  world,  hut  will  cnduie  as  long  as  the  universe  endures; 
and  each  participates  in  its  power  as  long  as  he  plays  his  role.  The 
word  implies  not  only  a  universal  law  by  which  the  cosmos  is 
governed  and  sustained,  but  also  particular  laws,  or  inflections  of 
"the  law,"  which  are  natural  to  each  special  species  or  modifica- 
tion of  existence.  Hieiarchy,  specialization,  one-sidedness,  tradi- 
tional obligations,  are  thus  of  the  essence  of  the  system.  But  there 
is  no  class  struggle;  for  one  cannot  strive  to  be  something  other 
than  what  one  is.  One  either  "is"  (sat)  or  one  "is  not"  (a-sat),  and 
one's  dharma  is  the  form  of  the  manifestation  in  time  of  what 
one  is.  Dharma  is  ideal  justice  made  alive;  any  manor  thing  with- 
out its  dharma  is  an  inconsistency.  There  are  clean  and  unclean 
professions,  but  all  participate  in  the  Holy  Power.  Hence  "virtue" 
is  commensurate  with  perfection  in  one's  given  role. 

The  turbancd  queen-so  runs  another  tale-longing  to  greet 
the  sage,  her  husband's  brother,  hade  farewell  to  the  king,  her 
husband.and  at  eventide  took  the  followingvow:  "At  early  morn, 

10  The  noun  dftar-a,  "she  who  bears,"  denotes  the  earth;  the  noun 
dhar-anam  is  "prop,  stay,  support." 



accompanied  by  my  retinue,  1  will  greet  the  sage  Soma  and  pro- 
vide him  with  food  and  drink;  only  then  will  1  eat." 

But  between  die  city  and  the  forest  there  was  a  river;  and  in 
the  night  there  was  a  freshet;  and  the  river  rose  and  swept  along, 
both  strong  and  deep.  Disturbed  by  this,  when  morning  came, 
the  queen  asked  her  beloved  husband,  "How  can  I  fulfill  this 
my  desire  today?" 

Said  the  king,  "()  queen,  be  not  thus  distressed,  for  this  is 
simple  to  do.  Go,  easy  in  mind,  with  your  retinue,  to  the  hither 
bank;  and,  standing  there,  first  invoke  the  goddess  of  the  river, 
and  then,  with  hands  both  joined,  and  with  a  pure  heart,  utter 
these  words:  'O  rher-goddess,  if  from  the  day  my  husband's 
brother  took  his  vow,  my  husband  has  lived  chaste,  then  straight- 
way gi\e  me  passage.'  " 

Hearing  this,  the  queen  was  astonished,  and  (bought,  "What 
manner  of  thing  is  this?  The  king  speaks  incoherently.  That  from 
the  day  of  his  brother's  vow  the  king  has  begotten  progeny  of 
sons  on  me,  all  this  signifies  that  1  have  performed  to  him  my 
\ow  as  a  wife.  But  after  all,  why  doubt?  Is  physical  contact  in 
tliis  case  the  meaning  intended?  Besides,  women  who  are  loyal 
to  their  husbands  should  not  doubt  their  husbands'  words.  For 
it  is  said:  A  wife  who  hesitates  to  obey  her  husband's  command, 
a  soldier  who  hesitates  at  his  king's  command,  a  pupil  who  hesi- 
tates at  his  father's  command,  such  a  one  breaks  his  own  vow." 

Pleased  at  this  thought,  the  queen,  accompanied  by  her  retinue 
in  ceremonial  attire,  went  to  the  bank  of  the  river,  and  stand- 
ing on  the  shore  did  worship,  and  with  a  pure  heart  uttered 
distinctly  the  proclamation  of  truth  recited  by  her  husband. 

And  of  a  sudden  the  river,  tossing  its  waters  to  the  left  and  to 
the  right,  became  shallow  and  gave  passage.  The  queen  went  to 
the  farther  shore,  and  there,  bowing  before  the  sage  according 
to  form,  received  his  blessing,  deeming  herself  a  happy  woman. 
The  sage  then  asked  the  woman  how  she  had  been  able  to  cross 
the  river,  and  she  related  the  whole  story.  Having  so  done,  she 

asked  the  prince  of  sages,  "How  can  it  be  possible,  how  can  it 
be  imagined,  that  my  husband  lives  chaste?" 

The  sage  replied,  "Hear  me,  good  woman.  From  the  moment 
when  I  took  my  vow,  the  king's  soul  was  free  from  attachment 
and  vehemently  did  he  long  to  take  a  vow.  For  no  such  man  as 
he  could  patiently  endure  to  bear  the  yoke  of  sovereignty.  There- 
fore he  bears  sway  from  a  sense  of  duty,  but  his  heart  is  not  in 
what  lie  does.  Moreover  it  is  said,  'A  woman  who  loves  another 
man  follows  her  husband.  So  also  a  yogi  attached  to  the  essence 
of  tilings  remains  with  the  round  of  existences.'  Precisely  so  the 
chastity  of  the  king  is  possible,  even  though  he  is  living  the  life 
of  a  householder,  because  his  heart  is  free  from  sin,  just  as  the 
purity  of  the  lotus  is  not  stained,  even  though  it  grow  in  the  mud." 

The  queen  bowed  before  the  sage,  and  then,  experiencing  su- 
preme satisfaction,  went  to  a  certain  place  in  the  forest  and  set 
up  her  abode.  Having  caused  a  meal  to  be  prepared  for  her 
retinue,  she  provided  food  and  drink  for  the  sage.  Then,  her 
vow  fulfilled,  she  herself  ate  and  drank. 

When  the  queen  went  to  take  leave  of  the  sage  she  asked  him 
once  more,  "How  can  I  cross  the  river  now?"  The  sage  replied, 
"Woman  of  tranquil  speech,  you  must  thus  address  the  goddess 
of  the  river:  'If  this  sage,  even  to  the  end  of  his  vow,  shall  always 
abide  fasting,  then  grant  me  passage.'  " 

Amazed  once  more,  the  queen  went  to  the  bank  of  the  river, 
proclaimed  the  words  of  the  sage,  crossed  the  river,  and  went 
home.  After  relating  the  whole  story  to  the  king,  she  asked  him, 
"How  can  the  sage  be  fasting,  when  I  myself  caused  him  to  break 
the  fast?" 

The  king  said,  "O  queen,  you  are  confused  in  mind;  you  do 
not  understand  in  what  true  religion  consists.  Tranquil  in  heart, 
noble  in  soul  is  he,  whether  in  eating  or  in  fasting.  Therefore: 
even  though  a  sage  eat,  for  the  sake  of  religion,  food  which  is 
pure,  which  he  has  neither  himself  prepared,  nor  caused  another 


to  prepare,  such  eating  is  called  the  fruit  of  a  perpetual  fast. 
Thought  is  the  root,  words  are  the  trunk,  deeds  are  the  spread- 
ing branches  of  religion's  tree.  Let  its  roots  be  strong  and  firm, 
and  the  whole  tree  will  bear  fruit."  " 

The  visible  forms  of  the  bodies  that  arc  the  vehicles  of  the 
manifestation  of  dliarma  come  and  go;  they  are  like  the  falling 
drops  of  rain,  which,  ever  passing,  bring  into  sight  and  support 
the  presence  of  the  rainbow.  What  "is"  (sat)  is  that  radiance  ol 
being  which  shines  through  the  man  or  woman  enacting  per- 
fectly the  part  of  dliarma.  What  "is  not"  (asat)  is  that  which  once 
was  not  and  soon  will  not  be;  namely,  the  mere  phenomenon 
that  seems  to  the  organs  of  sense  to  be  an  independent  body,  and 
therewith  disturbs  our  repose  by  arousing  reactions— of  fear,  de- 
sire, pity,  jealousy,  pride,  submission,  or  aggression— reactions  ad- 
dressed, not  to  what  is  made  manifest,  but  to  its  vehicle.  The 
Sanskrit  sat  is  the  present  participle  of  the  verbal  root  as,  "to  be, 
to  exist,  to  live";  as  means  "to  belong  to,  to  be  in  the  possession 
of,  to  fall  to  the  share  of";  also  "to  happen  to  or  to  befall  anyone, 
to  arise,  spring  out,  occur";  as  means  "to  suffice,"  also  "to  tend 
to,  to  turn  out  or  prove  to  be;  to  stay,  reside,  dwell;  to  be  in  a 
particular  relation,  to  be  affected."  Therefore  sat,  the  present 
participle,  means,  literally,  "being,  existing,  existent";  also  "true, 
essential,  real."  With  reference  to  human  beings,  sat  means  "good, 
virtuous,  chaste,  noble,  worthy;  venerable,  respectable;  learned, 
wise."  Sat  means  also  "right,  proper,  best,  and  excellent,"  as  well 
as  "handsome,  beautiful."  Employed  as  a  masculine  noun,  it  de- 
notes "a  good  or  virtuous  man,  a  sage";  as  a  neuter  noun,  "that 
which  really  exists,  entity,  existence,  essence;  reality,  the  really 
existent  truth;  the  Good";  and  "Brahman,  the  Holy  Power,  the 
Supreme  Self."  The  feminine  form  of  the  noun,  sati,  means  "a 
good  and  virtuous  wife"  and  "a  female  ascetic."  Sati  was  the 
name  assumed  by  the  universal  Goddess  when  she  became  incar- 

11  ParSvanatha-caritra  3.  255-283;  Burlingame,  he.  cit.r  pp.  442-443. 

nate  as  the  daughter  of  the  old  divinity  Daksa  in  order  to  become 
ihe  perfect  wife  of  Siva.12  And  sail,  furthermore,  is  the  Sanskrit 
original  form  of  the  word  that  in  English  now  is  "suttee,"  de- 
noting the  self-immolation  of  the  Hindu  widow  on  her  husband's 
funeral  pyre— an  act  consummating  the  perfect  identification  of 
the  individual  with  her  role,  as  a  living  image  of  the  romantic 
Hindu  ideal  of  the  wife.  She  is  the  goddess  Sati  herself,  reincar- 
nate; the  sakti,  or  projected  life-energy,  of  her  spouse.  Her  lord, 
her  enlivening  principle,  having  passed  away,  her  remaining  body 
can  be  only  a-sat,  non-sat:  "unreal,  non-existent,  false,  untrue, 
improper;  not  answering  its  purpose;  bad,  wicked,  evil,  vile." 
Asat,  as  a  noun,  means  "non-existence,  non-entity;  untruth,  false- 
hood; an  evil,"  and  in  its  feminine  form,  asali,  "an  unchaste 

The  tale  of  the  queen,  the  saint,  and  the  king  teaches  that 
Truth  (sat-ya:  "is-ness")  must  be  rooted  in  the  heart.  The  Act  of 
Truth  has  to  build  out  from  there.  And  consequently,  though 
dharma,  the  fulfillment  of  one's  inherited  role  in  life,  is  the  tra- 
ditional basis  of  this  Hindu  feat  of  virtue,  nevertheless,  a  heart- 
felt truth  oi  any  order  has  its  force.  Even  a  shameful  truth  is 
better  than  a  decent  falsehood— as  we  shall  learn  from  the  follow- 
ing witty  Buddhist  tale. 

The  youth  Yannadalta  had  been  bitten  by  a  poisonous  snake. 
His  parents  carried  him  to  the  feet  of  an  ascetic,  laid  him  down, 
and  said,  "Reverend  sir,  monks  know  simples  and  charms;  heal 
our  son." 

"I  know  no  simples;  I  am  not  a  physician." 

"But  you  are  a  monk;  therefore  out  of  charity  for  this  youth 
perform  an  Act  of  Truth.'' 

The  ascetic  replied,  "Very  well,  I  will  perform  an  Act  of 
Truth."  He  laid  his  hand  on  Yannadatta's  head  and  recited  the 
following  stanza: 

"  Cf.  Zimiuer,  The  King  and  the  Corpse,  pp.  264-285. 


For  but  a  week  I  lived  the  holy  life 
With  tranquil  heart  in  quest  of  merit. 

The  life  I've  lived  for  fifty  years 
Since  then,  I've  lived  against  my  will. 

By  this  truth,  healthl 
Poison  is  struck  downl  Let  Yafmadatta  livel 

Immediately  the  poison  came  out  of  Yarmadatta's  breast  and 
sank  into  the  ground. 

The  father  then  laid  his  hand  on  Yaimadatta's  breast  and  re- 
cited the  following  stanza: 

Never  did  I  like  to  see  a  stranger 
Come  to  stay.  I  never  cared  to  give. 

But  my  dislike,  the  monks  and  Brahmans 
Never  knew,  all  learned  as  they  were. 

By  this  truth,  health! 
Poison  is  struck  down!  Yafmadatta  live! 

Immediately  the  poison  came  out  of  the  small  of  Yaiinadatta's 
back  and  sank  into  the  ground. 

The  father  bade  the  mother  perform  an  Act  of  Truth,  but  the 
mother  replied,  "I  have  a  Truth,  but  I  cannot  recite  it  in  your 

The  father  answered,  "Make  my  son  whole  anyhow!"  So  the 
mother  recited  the  following  stanza: 

No  moic,  my  son,  do  I  now  hate  this  snake  malignant 
That  out  of  a  crevice  came  and  bit  you,  than  I  do  your  father! 

By  this  truth,  healthl 
Poison  is  struck  down!  Let  Yafmadatta  live! 


Immediately  the  rest  of  the  poison  sank  into  the  ground,  and 
Yannadatta  got  up  and  began  to  frisk,  about.13 

This  is  a  tale  that  could  be  taken  as  a  text  for  psychoanalysis. 
The  opening  up  of  the  repressed  truth,  deeply  hidden  beneath 
the  years  of  lies  and  dead  actions  that  have  killed  the  son  (i.e., 
have  killed  the  future,  the  life,  of  this  miserable,  hypocritical, 
self-deceiving  household),  suffices,  like  magic,  to  clear  the  venom 
from  the  poor,  paralyzed  body,  and  then  all  of  that  deadness 
(asat),  "non-existence,"  is  truly  non-existent.  Life  breaks  forth 
anew,  in  strength,  and  the  living  is  spliced  back  to  what  was 
living.  The  night  of  nonentity  between  is  gone. 


This  principle  of  the  power  of  truth,  which  we  all  recognize 
in  our  personal  histories  as  well  as  in  what  we  have  been  able 
to  fathom  of  the  private  histories  of  our  friends,  Mahatma  Gan- 
dhi is  applying,  in  contemporary  India,  to  the  field  and  prob- 
lems of  international  politics.14  Mahatma  Gandhi's  program  of 
satyagraka,  "holding  (agraha)  to  the  truth  (satya),"  is  an  attempt 
to  carry  this  ancient  Indo-Aryan  idea  into  play  against  what  would 
seem  to  the  eye  to  be  the  vastly  superior  powers  of  the  highly 
mechanized,  industrially  supported,  military  and  political  equip- 
ment of  the  Anglo-Saxon's  victorious  machine  of  universal  em- 
pire. For  when  Great  Britain,  at  the  opening  of  the  first  World 

"  JMaka  44.  Burlingame,  loc.  cit.,  pp.  4-17-448. 
14  Editors  note:  This  lecture  was  delivered  in  the  spring  of  1943. 


War,  promised  freedom  to  India  in  exchange  for  co-operation  in 
the  European  battle  to  prevent  Germany  and  Austria  from  break- 
ing the  iron  ring  of  their  mancjala,  she  committed  herself  to 
something  which,  when  the  hour  of  her  extremity  had  passed,  she 
simply  brushed  aside  as  inconvenient  to  her  own  prosperity.  By 
that  failure  in  truthfulness,  the  government  of  India  immediately 
became  a-sat,  "non-existent,  evil,  not  answering  its  purpose;  a 
nonentity,"  in  other  words,  tyrannical,  monstrous,  contrary  to 
nature.  English  rule  in  India  thereby  became  cut  off  from  the 
divine  vital  sources  of  true  being  that  sustain  all  earthly  phe- 
nomena, and  was  as  much  as  dead:  something  large  that  still 
might  cling,  like  a  dead  thing,  but  could  be  sloughed  off  by  the 
operation  of  a  higher  principle. 

The  higher  principle  is  Truth,  as  manifest  in  dharma,  "law: 
that  which  holds  together,  supports,  upholds."  Government, 
"law,"  based  on  "untruth"  is  an  anomaly— according  to  Mahatma 
Gandhi's  archaic,  pre-Pcrsian,  native  Indo-Aryan  point  of  view. 
Great  Britain's  perennial  punitive  aggressions  to  put  down  the 
"lawlessness"  of  those  who  challenged  the  jurisdiction  of  her 
"laws"  based  on  lawlessness  were  to  be  countered,  following 
Gandhi's  program,  not  in  kind,  but  by  the  soul  force  that  would 
automatically  come  into  play  as  a  result  of  a  steadfast  communal 
holding  (dgraha)  to  truth  (satya).  The  grip  of  the  tyrant  nation 
would  disintegrate.  The  play  of  its  own  lawlessness  throughout 
the  world  would  be  its  own  undoing;  one  had  only  to  wait  until 
it  took  itself  apart.  Meanwhile,  in  piety,  decency,  and  the  fault- 
less practice— with  faith  (iraddhd)— of  its  own  ageless  dharma,  the 
land  of  India  must  remain  with  its  passions  of  violence  rightly 
curbed,  firm  in  that  power  which  is  the  mother  of  power,  namely 

"Whatever  Sovereign,"  we  read  in  Kautilya's  Artkasastra,  "even 
one  whose  dominion  extends  to  the  ends  of  the  earth,  is  of  per- 
verted disposition  and  ungoverned  senses,  must  quickly  perish. 
The  whole  of  this  science  has  to  do  with  a  victory  over  the  pow- 


crs  of  perception  and  action."  m  That  is  the  other,  the  secret,  side 
of  matsya-nyuya,  the  principle  of  the  fish.  To  us  of  the  West, 
such  a  statement  in  a  work  of  the  kind  that  we  have  discussed  in 
our  former  lectures  may  seem  an  insincere  simulation  of  politi- 
cal "idealism."  But  Kautilya's  work  is  absolutely  devoid  of  such 
pretensions.  Hypocrisy  is  taught  as  a  political  device,  not  em- 
ployed as  an  excuse  for  teaching.  To  understand  how  such  a 
realist  as  the  first  chancellor  of  the  Maurya  dynasty  could  have 
intended  the  above  statement  to  be  taken  seriously,  the  Western 
reader  must  bear  in  mind  that  always,  in  India,  the  Holy  Power 
has  been  taken  seriously.  The  Brahmans,  able  to  control  and  de- 
ploy it  by  means  of  their  magic  formulae,  were  indispensable 
advisers  and  assistants  to  the  kings;  the  Holy  Power  could  be  a 
secret  weapon  in  their  hands.  They  did  not  think  of  the  law  of 
the  fish  as  something  contrary  to  the  law  of  spiritual  self-mastery. 
Might  wins,  they  knew,  and  might  makes  right.  But,  according 
lo  their  view,  there  are  many  kinds  of  might,  and  the  mightiest 
might  of  all  is  that  of  the  Holy  Power.  This,  furthermore,  is  also 
"right";  for  it  is  nothing  less  than  the  essence  and  manifestation 
of  Truth  itself." 

Ahiihsa,  "non-violence,  non-killing,"  is  the  first  principle  in 
the  dharma  of  the  saint  and  sage— the  first  step  to  the  self-mastery 
by  which  the  great  yogis  lift  themselves  out  of  the  range  of 
normal  human  action.  They  attain  through  it  to  such  a  state  of 
power  that  when  and  if  the  saint  steps  again  into  the  world,  he 
is  literally  a  superman.  We  have  heard  of  this  ideal  also  in  the 
West; "  but  we  have  yet  to  see  a  whole  continent  attempt  to 

18  Arthaiastra  1.  6. 

18  "As  regards  Unrighteousness,  it  may  be  said  that,  even  when  of  great 
proportions,  it  is  incapable  of  so  much  as  touching  Righteousness,  which 
is  always  protected  by  Time,  and  shines  like  a  blazing  fire"  (Mahabharala 

>3-  >«4-  7)- 

17  "But  I  say  unto  you,  That  ye  resist  not  evil:   but  whosoever  shall 

smite  thee  on  thy  right  cheek,  turn  to  him  the  other  also.  And  if  any 



bring  the  principle  into  action,  seriously,  in  the  world— that  is 
to  say,  in  the  world  that  seems  to  us  the  really  serious  one,  the 
world  of  international  affairs.  Gandhi's  program  of  satyagraha, 
his  national  "firm  grasping  ol  truth,"  in  strict  adherence  to  the 
first  principle  of  India's  yoga  mastery,  ahirhsa,  "non-killing,  non- 
violence," is  a  serious,  very  brave,  and  potentially  vastly  powerful 
modern  experiment  in  the  ancient  Hindu  science  of  transcending 
the  sphere  of  lower  powers  by  entering  that  of  higher.  Gandhi 
is  confronting  Great  Bi  ilain's  untruth  (asatya)  with  India's  truth 
(salya);  British  compromise  with  Hindu  holy  dharma.  This  is  a 
wizard  priest-battle,  waged  on  the  colossal,  modern  scale,  and 
according  to  principles  derived  from  the  textbooks,  not  of  the 
Royal  Military  College,  but  of  Brahman. 

The  Palace  of  Wisdom 

The  soul-power  brought  into  action  by  such  a  technique,  and 
such  a  thorough  system  of  anonymous  identification,  as  that 
which  characterizes  and  supports  ilie  orthodox  Hindu  way  of  life 
is  derived  from  levels  of  the  deep  unconscious  that  are  normally 
sealed  to  the  self-conscious  individual  operating  in  terms  of  ra- 
tional values  consciously  ascertained.  The  psychological  inflation, 
the  feeling  of  supranormal,  suprapersonal  significance,  that  we 

man  will  sue  thee  at  the  law,  and  take  away  thy  coat,  let  him  have  thy 
tloke  also.  And  whosoever  shall  compel  thee  to  go  a  mile,  go  with  him 
twain.  Give  to  him  that  asketh  thee,  and  from  him  that  would  borrow  of 
thee  turn  not  thou  away"  (Matthew  5:  50-42). 


of  the  modern  world  can  sometimes  feel  when,  in  moments  of 
special  solemnity,  we  find  ourselves  enacting  one  of  those  great 
archetypal  roles  that  it  has  been  the  destiny  of  mankind  to  keep 
in  play  throughout  the  millenniums  (the  bride,  the  madonna,  the 
marching  warrior,  the  judge,  the  teaching  sage),  the  civilization 
of  India  has  rendered  permanent  and  normal.  The  accidents  of 
the  individual  personality  are  systematically  disregarded:  the  in- 
dividual is  asked,  always,  to  identify  himself  with  one  or  another 
of  the  timeless,  permanent  roles  that  constitute  the  whole  pattern 
and  fabric  of  society.  Traits  of  personality  of  course  remain  and 
are  readily  perceptible,  but  always  in  strict  subordination  to  the 
demands  of  the  part.  AH  of  life,  all  the  time,  has  the  quality, 
consequently,  of  a  great  play,  long  known  and  loved,  with  its 
standard  moments  of  joy  and  tragedy,  through  which  the  indi- 
viduals move  both  as  actors  and  as  audience.  All  is  radiant  with 
the  poetry  of  epic  timelessness. 

But  the  other  face  of  the  picture— of  this  wonderful  mood  and 
mode  of  general  inflation— is,  of  course,  deflation,  hell:  the  utter 
wreck  and  hopelessness  of  the  one  who,  through  no  matter  what 
fault,  goes  off  the  road.  The  wife  who  has  failed  to  keep  immac- 
ulate her  representation  of  the  role  of  Sat!;  the  field  marshal 
conspicuously  incompetent  in  his  duty  to  the  king;  the  Brahman 
who  has  been  unable  to  resist  a  lure  of  love  outside  the  taboo- 
barriers  of  his  caste:  such  failures  represent  threats  to  the  stabil- 
ity of  the  structure.  Should  such  actions  become  general,  the  en- 
lire  piece  would  disintegrate.  And  so  these  mere  individuals, 
as  a  group,  are  simply  hurled  into  outer  darkness,  where  there 
is  weeping  and  gnashing  of  teeth.  They  are  nothing  (a-sat),  out- 
cast. Their  art  was  their  own;  their  tragedy  is  their  own.  Nobody 
knows  what  their  state  has  now  come  to  be,  nobody  cares.  This  is 
the  kind  of  failure  that  in  Japan  is  the  proper  cause  for  hara-kiri. 
The  antithesis  of  the  general  dream  of  life  is  thus  the  personal 
shipwreck  (it  cannot  be  called  even  tragedy)  of  the  individual 
who  has  been  a  failure  in  his  part. 


"The  road  of  excess,"  writes  William  Blake,  "leads  to  the  palace 
of  wisdom."  1(l  Only  when  pressed  to  excess  does  anything  gen- 
erate its  opposite.  And  so  we  find  that  in  India,  where  the  pattern 
of  identification  with  the  social  roles  is  carried  to  such  an  extreme 
that  the  whole  content  of  the  collective  unconscious  is  emptied 
into  the  sphere  of  action  during  the  first  half  of  the  individual's 
lifetime,  when  the  peiiod  ol"  the  lirst  two  asramas  has  been  ful- 
filled a  violent  countermovement  in  the  psyche  transports  the 
individual  to  the  extreme  ol  the  other  pole,  and  he  rests,  anony- 
mous as  ever,  but  in  the  antarctic,  now,  of  absolute  non-identi- 
fication. We  all,  in  the  West  as  well  as  in  the  Orient,  have  to 
identify,  if  we  are  to  participate  at  all  in  the  life  of  our  society, 
the  course  of  history,  and  the  general  work  of  the  world.  One 
has  always  to  be  something—student,  father,  mother,  engineer. 
But  in  the  Hindu  system  respect  for  this  necessity  lias  been  car- 
ried to  such  excess  that  the  whole  of  life  has  become  petrified  in 
a  rigid  icon  based  on  principle;  beyond  that,  outside  the  social 
frame,  is  the  void  of  the  unmanil'csl,  to  which  one  can  pass  when 
the  lesson  of  the  first  half  of  life  has  been  learned— the  lesson  of 
the  gods;  and  to  which  one  then  passes  automatically,  compul- 
sively, as  though  driven  b)  the  whole  weight  of  a  counterdrive 
of  commensurate  reaction.  "I  wotdd  thou  wert  cold  or  hot.  So 
then  because  thou  art  lukewarm,  and  neither  cold  nor  hot,  I  will 
spue  thee  out  of  ni)  mouth."  ,fl  Only  because  ail  has  been  given 
is  the  individual  free  to  enter  at  last  into  the  sphere  beyond 
possession  and  belief. 

We  all  have  to  identify  ourselves  with  something  and  "belong" 
—but  cannot  and  should  not  try  to  seek  fulfillment  in  this  atti- 
tude. For  the  recognition  of  distinctions  between  things,  the 
differentiation  of  this  from  that,  which  is  implicit  in  and  basic 
to  this  natural  effort,  pertains  lo  the  sphere  of  mere  appearance, 
the  realm  of  birth  and  death  (samsara).  India's  popular  deifica- 

18  The  Marriage  of  Heaven  and  Hell,  "Proverbs  of  Hell." 
18  Revelation  3:  15-16. 



tion  of  everything,  every  style  of  being,  is  no  less  absurd,  linally, 
than  the  Western  scientific  irreligiosity,  which,  with  its  "nothing 
but,"  pretends  to  reduce  all  to  the  sphere  of  rational  and  relative 
understanding— the  power  of  the  sun  as  well  as  the  momentum 
of  love.  Relativism  and  absolutism  equally,  when  total,  are  per- 
verse—because convenient.  They  oversimplify  for  the  purposes 
of  fruitful  action.  They  are  not  concerned  with  truth,  but  with 
results.  So  long  as  one  does  not  comprehend  that  everything  in- 
cludes everything  else,  or  at  least  that  it  is  also  other  than  it 
seems,  and  that  such  antinomies  as  the  opposites  of  good  and 
evil,  true  and  false,  this  and  that,  profane  and  holy,  may  extend  as 
far  as  to  the  boundaries  of  thought  but  do  not  belong  beyond,  one 
is  bound  still  to  the  dustbin  of  samsara,  subject  to  the  nescience 
that  retains  the  consciousness  within  the  worlds  of  rebirth.  So 
long  as  one  makes  distinctions  and  excludes  or  excommunicates, 
one  is  the  servant  and  agent  of  error. 

"Oho!  I  am  Consciousness  itself.  The  world  is  like  a  juggler's 
show.  So  how  and  where  can  there  be  any  thought  in  me  of 
acceptance  and  rejection? 

"From  Brahma  down  to  the  clump  of  grass,  I  verily  am  all: 
one  who  knows  this  for  certain  becomes  free  from  conflict,  pure, 
peaceful,  and  indifferent  to  what  is  attained  and  not  attained. 

"Completely  give  up  such  distinction  as  'I  am  He'  and  'I  am 
not  this.'  Consider  all  as  the  Self  and  be  desireless  and  happy."  " 

Exclusion,  the  rejection  of  anything,  is  sin  and  self-decepiion, 
is  the  subjection  of  the  whole  to  a  part,  is  violence  enacted  against 
the  omnipresent  truth  and  essence,  the  finite  superordinating  it- 
self to  the  infinite.  And  whoever  thus  presumes  (that  is  to  say, 
whoever  is  still  behaving  like  a  civilized  human  being)  cripples 
and  abridges  the  revealed  reality,  and  therewith  himself.  His 
punishment  fits  his  crime,  the  sin  itself  being  its  own  penalty; 
for  the  commission  is  at  once  the  penalty  and  expression  of  the 
sinner's  own  inadequacy.  "Therefore,"  as  we  are  wisely  warned, 

*>Ast&vakraSamhitii.$;  11.7;  15.15. 


"when  thou  doest  thine  alms,  do  not  sound  a  trumpet  before  thee, 
as  the  hypocrites  do  in  the  synagogues  and  in  the  streets,  that 
they  may  have  glory  of  men.  Verily  I  say  unto  you,  They  have 
their  reward."  21  Herein  lies  the  secret  practical  joke  of  reality, 
working  itself  out  like  a  chain-effect,  world  without  end— the  cruel 
point  of  the  gods'  Olympian  laughter. 

But,  on  the  other  hand,  anyone  who,  in  order  to  be  closed  to 
nothing,  takes  in  all  without  distinction  is  equally  fooled  and 
guilty;  for  then  it  is  the  distinction  between  things  that  is  being 
disregarded,  and  the  hierarchy  of  values.  The  intoxicating,  dev- 
astating "All  is  God"  of  the  Bhagavad  Gita,  though  it  recognizes 
that  there  exists  a  difference  in  the  degrees  of  divine  manifes- 
tation, yet  so  insists  upon  the  colossal  fact  of  the  divinity  of 
all  things  that  in  contrast  the  distinctions  may  too  easily  seem 

There  has  never  been  found  any  definitive,  general  theoretical 
solution  to  this  world  dilemma,  with  which  one  might  safely  rest. 
Truth,  validity,  actuality,  subsist  only  in  actu:  in  the  unremit- 
ting play  of  enlightened  consciousness  on  the  facts  of  daily  life 
as  expressed  in  the  decisions  made  from  moment  to  moment,  the 
crises  of  sacrifice  and  laying  hold,  the  acts  of  Yea  and  Nay:  only 
in  the  work,  that  is  to  say,  wrought  by  a  being  in  whom  Enlight- 
enment is  continuously  alive  as  a  present  force.22  And  the  first 
step  to  the  attainment  of  such  redemptive  alertness  is  to  leave 
behind,  with  an  irrevocable  decision,  the  way,  the  gods,  and  the 
ideals  of  the  orthodox,  institutionalized  dharma. 

So  it  was  that  Jesus  while  treading  the  soil  of  Palestine  seemed 
a  temperamental,  whimsical  savior,  in  his  violent  repudiation  of 
the  petrified  sanctimoniousness,  hard-hearted  ritualism,  and  in- 

21  Matthew  6:  2. 

*8This  idea  is  represented  in  Mahayana  Buddhism  by  the  ideal  of  the 
Bodhisattva,  the  "One  whose  quick  is  Enlightenment,"  and  in  Hinduism 
by  the  JTvanmukta,  the  "One  released  in  life."  (Cf.  infra,  pp.  441-455,  554- 



tellectual  callousness  of  the  Pharisees.  Equally  shocking  today  to 
a  congregation  in  our  dignified  churches  would  seem  the  burn- 
ing words  recorded  of  him  in  the  gospel  according  to  Matthew: 
"Verily  1  say  unto  you,  That  the  publicans  and  the  harlots  go 
into  the  kingdom  of  God  before  you."  "3  The  point  of  this  rebuke 
would  be  lost,  however,  in  India,  where  harlotry  is  strictly  insti- 
tutional, and  where  the  gods  and  the  blessed  in  heaven,  as  well 
as  the  courtesan,  are  regarded  as  linked  to  the  virtue  (dharma), 
delights  (kdrna),  and  attainments  (artha),  of  the  prodigious  round 
of  the  created  world.  There,  if  one  is  to  escape  from  the  dreadful 
pall  of  the  self-complacent,  sanctified  community,  the  sole  re- 
course is  to  plunge  even  below  the  below,  beyond  the  beyond,  to 
break  the  mask  even  of  the  highest  god.  This  is  the  work  of 
"release"  (moksa),  the  task  of  the  naked  sage. 
-'•'•  Matthew  21:  31. 




/.  J  A  IN  ISM 


"AT  the  mere  mention  of  the  name  of  the  Lord  Parsva  dis- 
Ix.  turbances  cease,  the  sight  (dariana)  of  him  destroys  the 
fear  of  rebirths,  and  his  worship  removes  the  guilt  of  sin."  ' 

One  should  make  images  of  Parsva  and  pay  them  homage  for 
the  effect  of  his  darsana,  not  because  of  any  hope  that  the  great 
being  himself  might  condescend  to  assist  a  worshiper;  for  the 
Jaina  saviors— the  "Makers  of  the  River-Crossing"  (tirlhaitkaras) 
as  they  are  called— dwell  in  a  supernal  zone  at  the  ceiling  of  the 
universe,  beyond  the  reach  of  prayer;  there  is  no  possibility  of 
their  assistance  descending  from  that  high  and  luminous  place 
to  the  clouded  sphere  of  human  effort.  In  the  popular  phases  of 
the  Jaina  household  cult  the  usual  Hindu  gods  are  implored  for 
minor  boons  (prosperity,  long  life,  male  offspring,  etc.),  but  the 

1  Editor's  note:  I  have  not  been  able  to  locate  the  text  used  by  Dr.  Zimnier 
for  his  version  of  the  Life  of  Partvanatha  and  so  cannot  give  references  for 
the  quotations  in  the  present  chapter.  The  version  of  the  Life  in  Bhavadeva- 
suri's  Parh'anatha  Caritra  (edited  by  Shravak  Pandit  Hargovinddas  and 
Shravak  Pandit  Bechardas,  Benares.  1912;  summarized  by  Maurice  Bloom- 
field,  The  Life  and  Stories  of  the  Jaina  Savior  Varcvanatha,  Baltimore,  1919) 
agrees  in  the  main,  but  differs  in  many  minor  details. 


supreme  objects,  of  Jaina  contemplation,  the  TTrtharikaras,  have 
passed  beyond  the  godly  govcrnois  of  the  natural  order,  fainism, 
that  is  to  say,  is  not  atheistic;  it  is  transtheistic.  Its  Tlrtharikaras 
-who  represent  the  proper  goal  of  all  human  beings,  the  goal  in 
fact  of  all  living  entities  in  this  living  universe  of  reincarnating 
monads— ate  "cut  oft"  (kcvala)  from  the  provinces  of  creation, 
preservation, and  destruction, which  are  the  concerns  and  sphercs- 
of-operation  of  the  gods.  The  Makers  of  the  River-Crossing  arc 
beyond  cosmic  event  as  well  as  the  problems  of  biography;  they 
are  transcendent,  cleaned  of  temporality,  omniscient,  actionlcss, 
and  absolute!)  at  peat  e.  The  contemplation  of  their  state  as  rep- 
resented in  their  cmiotisly  auesting  images,  coupled  with  the 
giaded. progressively  i  igorous  exen  iscsol  Jaina  asietic  discipline, 
bungs  the  individual  tlnough  the  course  of  many  lifetimes  gradu- 
ally past  the  needs  and  anxieties  of  human  prayer,  past  even  the 
deities  whcuespondtopiayei,  and  bevond  the  blissful  heavens  in 
which  those  gods  and  their  wotshipers  abide,  into  the  remote, 
transcendent,  "cut -off"  7011c  of  pure,  uninfiet  led  existence  to 
which  the  Crossing-Make) s,  the  Tnthankaias,  have  cleaved  the 

The  foundation  of  Jainism  has  been  attributed  by  Occidental 
historians  to  Vardhamana  Mahav Ira,  a  contemporary  of  the  Bud- 
dha, who  died  c.  52G  B.C.  "I  he  Jainas  themselves,  however,  regard 
Mahavira  not  as  the  first  but  as  the  last  of  their  long  series  of 
Tnthankaias.  The  traditional  number  of  these  is  twenty-four, 
and  their  line  is  supposed  to  have  descended  through  the  centu- 
ries from  prehistoric  times.-  The  eaiJicr  of  them  undoubtedly 
are  mythological,  and  mythology  has  been  poured  abundantly 
into  the  biographies  of  the  rest,  nevertheless  it  is  becoming 
increasingly  evident  that  there  must  be  some  truth  in  the  Jaina 
tradition  of  the  great  antiquity  of  their  religion.  At  least  with 
respect  to  Parsva,  the  Tirthahkara  just  preceding  Mahavira,  we 

2  Cf.  supra,  p.  60,  Editor's  note,  and  Appendix  B. 

have  grounds  for  believing  that  lie  actually  lived  and  taught,  and 
was  a  Jaina. 

Par.4vanath.-i,  "(he  Lord  Parsva,"  is  supposed  to  have  attained 
liberation  about  two  hundred  and  forty-six  years  before  Vardha- 
mana  Mahavira,  the  historic  "founder"  of  the  Jaina  religion.  If 
526  B.C.  be  taken  as  the  year  of  the  Lord  Mahavira's  gaining  of 
nirvana,"  772  B.C.  may  then  be  said  to  be  that  of  Parsvanatha's. 
According  to  the  legend,  he  dwelt  in  the  world  exactly  one  hun- 
dred years,  having  left  home  at  the  age  of  thirty  to  become  an 
ascetic;  from  which  it  may  be  concluded  thai  he  was  born  about 
872  B.C.  and  left  his  palace  around  842.*  Parsvanatha  is  reckoned 
as  the  twenty-third  in  the  legendary  series  of  the  Tirtharikaras, 
having  entered  the  world  cighly-four  thousand  years  after  the 
nirvana  of  Bhagavan  Aristanemi,  the  twenty-second  of  this  long 
spiritual  line.  His  life,  or  rather  lives,  following  as  they  do  the 
pattern  typical  for  the  orthodox  biographies  of  ]aina  saints,  will 
serve  as  our  introduction  to  the  ttials  and  victories  of  the  last 
and  supreme  of  the  four  aims  of  Indian  life,  that  of  spiritual  re- 
lease (tuoksa).  The  saint's  biography  is  oflered  as  a  model  for  all 
those  who  would  put  off  the  heavy  load  of  earthly  birth. 

He  had  been  dwelling  and  ruling  as  an  Indra  in  the  thirteenth 

a  The  term  nirvana  belongs  b)  no  means  exclusively  to  Buddhist  tra- 
dition. The  metaphoi  is  derived  lrom  the  image  of  the  flame.  Nir-va 
means  "to  blow  out:  to  cease  to  draw  breath."  Nirvana  is  "blown  out": 
the  fire  of  desire,  for  want  of  fuel,  is  quenched  and  pacified. 

*One  hundred  lunar  years  is  regarded  as  the  ideal  length  of  life.  The 
flawless  saint  and  man  of  virtue  is  endowed  with  perlcct  health  by  leason 
of  his  pure,  ascetic  conduct;  and  by  reason  of  his  meritorious  deeds  in 
former  lives  he  is  blessed  with  a  bright  karma.  The  latter  results  in  a  well- 
balanced  constitution  of  unsurpassed  strength.  Though  one  hundred  years 
may  be  an  overstatement.  Parsva  probably  reached,  as  did  the  Buddha  and 
many  other  famous  Indian  ascetics,  a  lcmarkably  old  age.  It  may  be, 
therefore,  that  the  Jaina  tradition  of  his  hundred  years  of  life  is  not  far 
from  the  mark.. 


j  A  I N  I S  M 

heaven"  when  his  time  to  re-enter  the  world  of  men  arrived  and 
he  descended  to  the  womb  of  Queen  Varna,  the  beautiful  consort 
of  King  Asvasena.  All  who  beheld  the  child  as  he  grew  to  man- 
hood were  amazed  by  his  beauty  and  strength,  but  particularly 
by  his  indifference  to  the  concerns,  delights,  and  temptations  of 
the  palace.  Neither  his  father's  noble  throne  nor  female  loveli- 
ness could  hold  his  interest;  all  that  he  ever  desired  was  to 
i  enounce  the  world.  Unwillingly  the  family  consented  to  the 
departure  of  the  prince,  and  the  gods  at  that  moment  descended 
to  celebrate  the  "Great  Renunciation."  They  transported  him  in 
a  heavenly  palanquin  to  the  forest,  where  he  took  his  vow  of 
sannyasa:  complete  renunciation  of  the  world— the  sign  of  his 
irrevocable  decision  to  annihilate  his  mortal  nature.  Years  passed; 
and  then  the  gods  again  descended— for  ParSvanatha  now  had 
achieved  omniscience,  having  annihilated  his  karma.  Thereafter, 
as  a  Tfrtharikara,  a  living  savior,  he  taught  and  moved  among 
mankind.  And  when  he  had  fulfilled  his  earthly  mission,  being 
then  one  hundred  years  of  age,  his  life-monad  became  separated 

5  Editor's  note:  The  Vedic  Aryans,  like  the  Homeric  Greeks,  offered  sac- 
rifices to  deities  in  human  form  but  of  a  superhuman  order.  Indra,  like 
Zeus,  was  the  lord  of  rain,  the  hurler  of  the  thunderbolt,  and  the  king  of 
gods;  no  human  being  rould  hope  to  become  either  Zeus  or  Indra.  The 
tion  Aryan.  Dravidian  peoples  of  India,  on  the  other  hand  (cf.  supra,  p. 
60,  Editor's  note),  for  whom  reincarnation  was  a  basic  law,  regarded  deities 
simply  as  beings  (formerly  human  or  animal)  who  had  merited  bliss.  When 
the  merit  expired  their  high  seats  were  vacated  to  other  candidates  and 
they  descended  again  into  human,  animal,  or  even  demonic  forms. 

Following  the  Vedic  period  a  synthesis  of  these  two  beliefs— the  Aryan 
and  the  non-Aryan— yielded  a  generally  recognized  Indian  system  (recog- 
nized by  Buddhism  and  Jainism  as  well  as  by  orthodox  Hinduism)  in 
which  the  names  and  roles  of  the  Vedic  gods  represented  the  high  posi- 
tions to  which  virtuous  souls  attained.  Moreover,  since  in  the  non-Aryan 
cosmos  there  had  been  a  multitude  of  heavens,  Indras  (i.e.,  the  kings  of 
the  various  godly  realms)  were  heaped  one  above  the  other,  storey  above 
storey.  Hence  we  read  that  the  saint  Parsvanatha  "had  been  dwelling  and 
ruling  as  an  Indra  in  the  thirteenth  heaven." 

from  its  earthly  coil  and  rose  10  the  ceiling  ol  the  universe,  where 
it  now  abides  forever. 

That,  briefly,  is  the  tale  ol  the  probable  life  of  this  ancient 
teacher— embellished  with  a  lew  mythological  details.  But  in 
India,  the  homeland  ol  reincarnation,  one  biography  is  not 
enough;  the  lives  of  saints  and  saviors  are  provided  with  preludes 
—infinitely  expansible— ol  earlier  saintly  existences,  which  fol- 
low, in  general,  a  consistent  pattern.  Showing  the  spiritual  hero 
first  on  lower,  even  animal,  planes  of  existence  and  experience, 
enacting  his  characteristic  part  ol  the  magnanimous  being,  they 
follow  his  gradual  progress  (with  its  blissful  intetludcs  between 
lives,  spent  in  one  or  another  ol  the  traditional  heavens,  reaping 
the  rewards  of  earthly  virtue),  until,  having  progressed  through 
many  levels  of  experience,  he  at  last  arrives  at  that  supreme  state 
of  embodied  spirituality  which  distinguished  his  actual,  histor- 
ical biography.  Volumes  of  siu  h  eailicr  births  have  been  provided 
for  the  Buddha,  and  pious  legend  has  invented  a  long  series  also 
for  Parsvanatha. 

One  of  the  most  striking  feat  urcs  ol  these  tales  of  the  earlier 
lives  of  Parsvanatha  is  the  emphasis  throughout  on  the  ruthless 
opposition  of  a  dark  brother  whose  development  is  the  very  an- 
tithesis of  that  of  the  savior.  Parsvanatha  increases  in  virtue,  but 
his  dark  brother,  simultaneously,  in  evil,  until  the  principle  of 
light  represented  in  the  Tirtharikara  finally  wins,  and  the  brother 
himself  is  saved."  The  enmity  between  the  two  is  represented  as 

"  Editor's  notr:  This  clean-cut  dualism,  if  Dr.  Zimmer's  view  of  the  an- 
tiquity of  the  Jaina  tradition  is  correct,  throws  a  new  light  on  the  problem 
of  the  backgrounds  and  nature  of  the  "reforms"  of  the  Persian  prophet 
Zoroaster.  It  has  been  customary  to  regard  these,  with  their  rigorous  moral 
emphasis  and  strictly  systematized  dualism,  as  representing  the  spiritual 
innovation  of  a  single,  gieat,  prophetic  personality.  If  Dr.  Zimmer's  view 
is  correct,  however,  the  pre-Aryan,  Dravidian  religion  was  rigorously 
moral  and  systematically  dualistic  years  before  the  birth  of  Zoroaster.  This 
would  seem  to  suggest  that  in  Zoroastrianism  a  resurgence  of  pre-Aryan 
factors  in  Iran,  following  a  period  of  Aryan  supremacy,  may  be  represented 


iiaving  begun  in  their  ninth  incarnation  before  the  last.  They 
had  been  born,  that  time,  as  the  sons  ol  VisvabhGti,  the  prime 
minister  of  a  ceitain  prehistoric  king  named  Aravinda.  And  it 
so  happened  that  their  father,  one  da)  thinking:  "Transitory 
surely  is  this  woild,"  went  away  on  the  path  of  emancipation, 
leaving  his  wife  behind  with  the  two  sons  and  a  great  store  ol 
wealth.  The  elder  son,  Kama t ha,  was  passionate  and  crafty, 
whereas  the  younger,  Marublmti,  was  eminently  virtuous  (the 
latter,  of  course,  being  the  one  who  is  to  be  Parsvanatha  in  their 
final  birth),7  and  so  when  their  king  one  time  had  to  leave  his 
kingdom  on  a  campaign  against  a  distant  enemy,  he  committed 
f  Ik'mU-u  of  the  palace  not  to  the  elder  brother  but  to  the  younger, 
Marublmti;  and  the  elder,  in  sinful  anger,  then  seduced  his  broth- 
er's wife.  The  adulter)  being  discovered,  the  king  when  he  re- 
turned asked  Maiubhiiti  what  the  punishment  should  be.  The 
future  Tirthankaia  advised  forgiveness.  But  the  king,  command- 
ing that  the  adulleier's  face  should  be  painted  black,  had  him 
seated,  facing  backwaids,  on  an  ass,  conducted  through  the  cap- 
ital, and  expelled  from  the  realm. 

Deprived  thus  uf  honor,  home,  pioperl),  and  family.  Kamath.t 

—something  (ompai.thle  in  tin-  l)ia\idian  tesuigciue  in  India  in  the  forms 
ol  j  autism  and  Buddhism.  Ol  signih«an<e  in  (his  connection  is  the  fart 
that  the  I'eisian  "il.nk  biothei"  ilie  h.ihhfik  (or  \7l1i  Dahaka)— is 
represented,  like  Pamaniitha  (see  Plate  VI).  with  serpents  springing  from 
his  shouldcrs. 

!n  the  folkloie  ;\iu\  mythology  of  the  antique.  pre-Aryaii  civilizations 
of  the  Old  Win  It!  the  motif  of  the  contrary  brothers  is  by  no  means  un- 
common. Otic  has  only  to  recall  the  Old  Testament  legends  of  Cain  and 
Abel,  Esau  and  [atob;  ami  among  the  most  ancient  Egyptian  talcs  pre- 
sened  to  us  is  "The  Story  of  the  Two  Biothers"  ftf.  G.  Maspcro.  Popular 
Stories  of  /Indent  Egypt.  New  York  and  London.  inir(.  pp.  1-20),  where 
we  find  not  only  a  strict  opposition  of  good  and  evil,  but  also  a  startling 
series  of  magical  rebirths. 

7  Likewise  in   the  Biblical    legends  of  Cain  and  Abel,  and  Esau   and 
Jacob,  as  well  as  in  the  Egyptian  "Story  of  the  Two  Brothers"  (cf.  Editor's 
note,  supta),  the  evil  brother  is  the  elder  and  the  good  the  younger. 

devoted  himself  in  the  wilderness  to  the  most  extreme  austeri- 
ties, not  in  a  humble  spirit  of  renunciation  ui  contrition,  but 
with  the  intent  to  acquire  superhuman,  demonic  powers  with 
which  to  win  revenge.  When  Marubhuti  was  appiiscd  ol  these 
penances,  he  thought  that  his  brother  had  at  last  become  purified, 
and  therefore,  in  spite  of  the  warnings  of  the  king,  paid  him  a 
visit,  thinking  to  invite  him  home.  He  discovered  Kamatha  stand- 
ing—as had  been  his  custom  day  and  night— holding  on  his  up- 
stretched  hands  a  great  slab  of  stone,  overcoming  hy  that  painful 
exercise  the  normal  slates  of  human  weakness.  Uut  when  the 
future  Tirtharikara  bowed  in  obeisance  at  his  leet,  the  terrible 
hermit,  beholding  this  gesture  ol  conciliation,  was  so  filled  with 
rage  that  he  flung  down  the  great  stone  on  Marubhuti's  head, 
killing  him  as  he  bowed.  The  asc  eiics  ol  the  penance-grove,  from 
whom  the  monster  had  learned  his  techniques  of  self-affliction, 
expelled  him  immediately  from  their  company,  and  he  sought 
refuge  among  a  wild  tribe  of  lihils.  He  became  a  highwayman 
and  murderer,  and  in  due  course  died,  following  a  life  of  crime. 

This  grotesque  story  sets  the  stage  for  a  long  and  complicated 
series  of  encounters,  full  of  surprises— a  typically  Indian  affair  of 
deaths  and  reappearances,  illustiating  the  moral  theory  of  re- 
birth. The  wicked  Kamatha  passes  through  a  number  of  forms 
paralleling  those  of  his  virtuous,  gradually  maturing  brother,  re- 
appearing time  and  again  to  repeat  his  sin  of  aggression,  while 
Marubhuti,  the  future  Tirtharikara,  becoming  more  and  more 
harmonious  within,  gains  the  power  to  accept  his  recurrent  death 
with  equanimity.  Thus  the  dark  brother  of  this  Jaina  legend  ac- 
tually serves  the  light— even  as  Judas,  in  the  Christian,  serves  the 
cause  of  Jesus."  And  just  as  Judas'  legendary  suicide  by  hanging 
parallels  the  crucifixion  of  his  Lord,  so  the  descents  of  Kamatha 
into  one  or  another  of  the  many  subterranean  Indian  hells 
parallel  the  complementary  ascents  of  his  future  savior  into  the 

*  Judas,  indeed,  is  represented  in  a  number  of  medieval  legends  as  the 
elder  brother  of  Jesus. 



storeys  of  the  heavens.  It  must  be  noted,  however,  that  in  India 
the  concepts  of  hell  and  heaven  differ  from  those  of  Christian- 
ity; for  the  individual's  residence  in  them  is  not  eternal.  They 
are,  rather,  purgatorial  stations,  representing  degrees  of  realiza- 
tion experienced  on  the  way  to  the  ultimate  transcendence  of 
all  qualitative  existence  whatsoever.  Hence  the  dark  brother  is 
not,  like  Judas,  eternally  damned  for  his  service  to  the  Lord, 
but  in  the  end  i.s  redeemed  from  his  bondage  in  the  spheres  of 
ignorance  and  pain. 

According  to  our  serial  of  talcs,  then,  though  both  Kamatha 
and  Marubhiiti  have  died,  this  death  is  not  to  be  the  end  of 
their  adventure.  The  good  king  Aravinda,  whom  Marubhiiti 
had  served  as  minister,  was  moved,  following  the  death  of  his 
officer,  to  abandon  the  world  and  lake  up  the  life  of  a  hermit; 
the  cause  of  his  decision  being  a  comparatively  insignificant  in- 
cident. Always  pious,  he  was  planning  to  build  a  Jaina  sanc- 
tuary, when  one  day  he  beheld  floating  in  the  sky  a  cloud  that 
looked  like  a  majestic,  slowly  moving  temple.  Watching  this 
with  rapt  attention,  he  became  inspired  with  the  idea  of  con- 
structing his  place  of  worship  in  just  that  form.  So  he  sent  in 
haste  for  brushes  and  paints  with  which  to  set  it  down;  but 
when  he  turned  again,  the  form  had  already  changed.  A  weird 
thought  then  occurred  to  him.  "Is  the  world."  he  mused,  "but 
a  series  of  such  passing  states?  Why  then  should  I  call  anything 
my  own?  What  i.s  the  good  of  continuing  in  this  career  of  king?" 
He  summoned  his  son,  installed  him  on  the  throne,  and  de- 
parted from  the  kingdom,  became  an  aimless  mendicant,  and 
wandered  from  one  wilderness  to  the  next. 

And  so  he  chanced,  one  day,  upon  a  great  assemblage  of  saints 
in  the  depths  of  a  certain  forest,  engaged  in  various  forms  of 
meditation.  He  joined  their  company,  and  had  not  been  long 
among  them  when  a  mighty  elephant,  running  mad,  entered 
the  grove— a  dangerous  event  that  sent  most  of  the  hermits  to 
the  four  directions.  Aravinda,  however,  remained  standing 

rigidly,  in  a  profound  state  of  contemplation.  The  elephant, 
rushing  about,  presently  came  directly  before  the  meditating 
king,  but  instead  of  trampling  him,  became  suddenly  calm 
when  it  perceived  his  absolute  immobility.  Lowering  its  trunk 
it  went  down  on  its  great  Iront  knees  in  obeisance.  "Why  are 
you  continuing  in  acts  of  injury?"  the  voice  of  Aravinda  then 
was  heard  to  ask.  "There  is  no  greater  sin  than  that  of  injuring 
other  beings.  Your  incarnation  in  this  form  is  the  result  of 
demerits  acquired  at  the  moment  of  your  violent  death.  Give 
up  these  sinful  acts;  begin  to  practice  vows;  a  happy  state  will 
then  stand  in  store  for  you." 

The  clarified  vision  of  the  contemplative  had  perceived  that 
the  elephant  was  his  former  minister,  Marubhfili.  Owing  to  the 
violence  of  the  death  and  the  distressing  thoughts  that  had  been 
harbored  in  the  instant  of  pain,  the  formerly  pious  man  was 
now  in  this  inferior  and  rabid  incarnation.  His  name  was  Vaj- 
raghosa,  "Thundering  Voice  ol  the  Lightning,"  and  his  mate 
was  the  former  wife  of  his  adulterous  brother.  Hearing  the 
voice  of  the  king  whom  he  had  served,  he  recalled  his  recent  hu- 
man life,  took  the  vows  of  a  hermit,  received  religious  instruction 
at  the  feet  of  Aravinda,  and  determined  to  commit  no  further 
acts  of  nuisance.  Thenceforward  the  mighty  beast  ate  but  a  modi- 
cum of  grass— only  enough  to  keep  its  body  and  soul  together; 
and  this  saintly  diet,  together  with  a  program  of  austerities, 
brought  it  down  so  much  in  weight  that  it  became  very  quiet 
and  emaciated.  Nevertheless,  it  never  relaxed,  even  for  a  mo- 
ment, from  its  devout  contemplation  of  the  Tlrthaiikaras,  those 
"Exalted  Ones"  (paramesthins)  now  serene  at  the  zenith  of  the 

Vajraghosa,  from  time  to  time,  would  go  to  the  bank  of  a 
nearby  river  to  quench  his  thirst,  and  on  one  of  these  occasions 
was  killed  by  an  immense  serpent.  This  was  his  former  brother, 
the  perennial  antagonist  of  his  career,  who,  having  expired  in 
deep  iniquity,  had  been  reincarnated  in  this  malignant  form. 


The  very  sight  of  the  saintly  pachyderm  proceeding  piously  to 
the  river  stirred  the  old  spirit  of  revenge,  and  the  serpent 
struck.  Its  deadly  poison  ran  like  fire  through  the  loose  and 
heavy  skin.  But  in  spite  of  terrific  pain,  Vajragliosa  did  not  for- 
get his  hermit  vows.  He  died  the  death  called  "the  peaceful 
death  of  absolute  renunciation,"  and  was  born  immediately  in 
the  twelfth  heaven  as  the  god  Sasi-prabha,  "Splendor  of  the 

This  completes  a  little  cycle  of  three  saintly  lives  (human, 
animal,  and  heavenly),  matched  by  three  of  the  antagonist  (hu- 
man, animal,  and  infernal),  everything  about  the  brothers  hav- 
ing been  in  contrast,  even  their  asceticism.  For  the  rigorous 
practices  of  the  revengeful  Kamatha  had  been  undertaken  not 
to  transcend,  but  to  guarantee,  the  projects  ol  ego,  whereas 
those  of  the  pious  Vajragliosa  represented  a  spirit  of  absolute 
self-abnegation.  Vajragliosa,  i(  should  be  observed,  was  here  the 
model  of  the  pious  de\otee  in  the  earlier  stages  of  religious  ex- 
perience—he  was  what  in  Christianity  would  be  termed  one  of 
God's  sheep.  The  ideal  in  India,  howc\cr,  is  to  begin  but  not 
to  remain  in  this  simple  devotional  plane;  and  so  the  lives  of 
the  future  Tirtharikara  roll  on. 

"Splendor  of  the  Moon."  the  happy  deity,  dwelt  amidst  the 
abundant  pleasures  of  his  heaven  for  sixteen  oceans  (sfigaras) 
of  time,  yet  did  not  relapse  even  there  from  the  regular  practice 
of  pious  acts.  He  was  reborn,  therefore,  as  a  fortunate  prince 
named  Agnivega  ("Strength  of  Fire"),  who,  on  the  death  of  his 
father,  ascended  the  throne  of  his  domain. 

One  day  a  homeless  sage  appeared,  asking  to  converse  with 
the  young  king,  and  he  discoursed  on  the  way  of  liberation. 
Immediately  Agnivega  experienced  an  awakening  of  the  reli- 
gious sense,  and  the  world  abruptly  lost  its  charm  for  him.  He 
joined  his  teacher's  monastic  following  and  through  the  regular 
practice  of  graduated  penances  diminished  within  himself  both 
his  attachment  and  his  aversion  to  worldly  things,  until  at  last 

all  was  supplanted  by  a  sublime  indifference.  Then  he  retired 
lo  a  cave  in  the  high  Himalayas  and  there,  steeped  in  the  pro- 
foundest  contemplation,  lost  all  consciousness  of  the  external 
world— but  while  in  this  state  was  again  sharply  bitten  by  a 
snake.  The  poison  burned;  but  he  did  not  lose  his  peaceful 
equilibrium.  He  welcomed  death,  and  expired  in  a  spiritual  at- 
titude of  sublime  submission. 

The  serpent,  of  couise,  was  again  the  usual  enemy,  who,  fol- 
lowing his  murder  of  the  elephant,  had  descended  to  the  fifth 
hell  where  the  sufferings  for  a  period  of  sixteen  oceans  of  time 
had  been  indescribable.  Then  he  had  returned  to  the  eatth,  still 
in  the  form  of  a  snake,  and  at  the  sight  of  Agnivcga  committed 
again  his  characteristic  sin.  The  hermit-king,  at  the  \cry  mo 
ment  of  his  death,  was  elevated  to  the  status  of  a  god— this  time 
for  a  period  of  twenty-two  oceans  of  years;  but  the  serpent  de- 
scended to  the  sixth  hell,  where  its  torments  were  even  greater 
than  in  the  fifth. 

Once  again  a  cycle  has  been  completed;  this  time  comprising 
one  earthly  life  and  one  heaveiily-and-infernal  interlude.  The 
pattern  of  three  in  the  early  cycle  gave  stress  to  the  earthly  trans- 
formation of  an  individual  whose  center  of  spiritual  gravity 
had  just  been  shifted  from  material  to  spiritual  things.  For 
Marubhuti,  the  virtuous  brother  and  the  trusted  minister  of  the 
king,  was  a  man  of  noble  disposition  in  the  service  of  the  state, 
whereas  Vajraghosa  stood  at  the  beginning  of  a  career  specifi- 
cally saintly.  Though  apparently  on  a  lower  plane  than  the 
king's  minister,  the  elephant  was  aclually  on  the  first  step  of  a 
higher  series:  the  sudden  death  of  the  man  of  affairs  and  the 
birth,  then,  of  the  childlike,  wild  but  tractable  lamb-elephant 
of  God  symbolizing  precisely  the  crisis  of  one  who  has  under- 
gone a  religious  conversion.  This  crisis  begins  the  series  of  the 
soul's  mighty  strides  to  the  height,  the  first  step  being  that  of 
spiritual  realization-as  in  the  life,  just  reported,  of  the  kingly 
hermit,  Agnivega;  the  second  that  of  the  Cakravartin,  bringer 


of  peace  on  earth;  the  third  a  lifetime  of  miraculous  holiness; 
and  the  last  the  step  ol  the  Tirtharikara,  breaking  the  way  to  the 
transcendental  ceiling  of  the  world. 

And  so  this  tale  of  transformations  goes  on  now  to  recount, 
with  another  sudden  shift  of  circumstance,  how  Queen  Laksml- 
vati,  the  pure  and  lovely  consort  of  a  certain  king  named 
Vajravirya  ("Having  the  Hero-Power  of  the  Thunderbolt"), 
dreamt  in  one  night  five  auspicious  dreams,  from  which  her 
husband  deduced  that  some  god  was  about  to  descend  to  be- 
come his  son.  Within  the  year  she  gave  birth  to  a  boy,  and  on 
his  beautiful  little  body  were  found  the  sixty-four  auspicious 
signs  of  the  Cakravartin.  He  was  named  Vajranabha  ("Diamond 
Navel"),  became  proficient  in  every  branch  of  learning,  and  in 
due  time  began  to  rule  the  realm.  The  world  wheel  (cakra)  ° 
lay  among  the  weapons  in  his  royal  treasury  in  the  form  of  a 
discus  of  irresistible  force;  and  he  conquered  the  four  quarters 
of  the  earth  with  this  weapon,  compelling  all  other  kings  to 
bow  their  heads  before  his  throne.  He  also  acquired  the  four- 
teen supernatural  jewels  that  are  the  marks  of  the  glory  of  the 
Cakravartin.  And  yet,  surrounded  though  he  was  by  supreme 
splendor,  he  did  not  forget  for  so  much  as  a  day  the  precepts  of 
morality,  but  continued  in  his  worship  of  the  Tirtharikaras  and 
of  the  living  laina  preceptors— fasting,  praying,  practicing  vows, 
and  performing  numerous  acts  of  mercy.  A  hermit  whose  name 
was  Kscmarikara  therefore  came  to  court;  and  the  Cakravartin, 
hearing  the  holy  man's  delectable  words,  was  released  from  his  last 
attachment  to  the  world.  He  renounced  his  throne  and  wealth, 
and  departed  to  practice  holy  penances  in  the  wilderness,  ab- 
solutely fearless  of  the  howls  of  the  elephants,  jackals,  and  forest 
gob!  ins. 

But  his  old  enemy  had  returned  to  the  world,  this  time  as  a 
Bhil,  a  wild  tribesman  of  the  jungle.  And  in  due  course  the 
savage  hunter  chanced  upon  the  place  of  the  meditating  former 
•  Cf-  supra,  pp.  128-130. 


Cakravartin.  The  sight  of  the  saintly  being  in  meditation 
aroused  again  the  ancient  hatred.  The  Bhil  remembered  his 
last  human  incarnation,  became  fired  with  a  passion  for  re- 
venge, notched  his  keenest  arrow  to  the  bowstring,  aimed,  and 
let  fly.  Vajranabha  died  peacefully— absolutely  unperturbed. 
And  so  he  ascended  to  one  of  the  very  highest  celestial  spheres— 
the  so-called  Madhyagraiveyaha  heaven,  which  is  situated  in  the 
middle  (madhya.)  of  the  neck  (grinn)  of  the  human-shaped  world- 
organism  "—and  there  he  became  an  Aham-Indra  ("I  am 
Indra");  "  whereas  the  Bhil,  when  he  died,  since  he  was  full  of 
vile  and  sinful  thoughts,  descended  to  the  seventh  hell— again 
for  a  period  of  indescribable  pain. 

The  next  appearance  of  the  future  Tirthankara  was  in  the 
person  of  a  prince  of  the  Iksvaku  family  (the  ruling  house  of 
Ayodhya),  and  his  name  was  Anandakumara.  Remaining  always 
a  perfect  Jaina  and  fervent  worshiper  of  the  Tirthankaras,  he 
became  the  King  of  Kings  over  an  extensive  empire.  Years 
passed.  Then  while  standing  one  day  before  his  looking-glass, 
he  perceived  that  one  of  his  hairs  had  turned  gray.  Immediately, 
he  completed  arrangements  to  have  his  son  assume  the  throne 
and  himself  initiated  into  the  order  of  the  Jaina  ascetics,  and 
so  he  quit  the  world.  His  preceptor,  this  time,  was  a  great  sage 
named  Sagaradatta,  under  whom  (and  thanks  to  an  unflagging 
practice  of  all  the  prescribed  austerities)  he  became  possessed 
of  superhuman  powers.  Wherever  he  went,  the  trees  bent  with 
the  weight  of  fruits,  there  was  no  grief  or  sorrow,  the  tanks 
were  filled  with  blooming  lotuses  and  clearest  water,  and  the 
lions  frolicked  harmlessly  with  the  fawns.  Anandakumara  passed 
his  time  in  meditation,  the  atmosphere  for  miles  around  him 
being  full  of  peace.  The  birds  and  animals  flocked  about  him 
without  fear.  But  then  one  day  the  royal  saint  was  set  upon  by 
an  unquelled  lion  (the  old  enemy)  who  tore  him  to  pieces  and 

10  This  will  be  discussed  infra,  pp.  841-248. 

11  Cf.  supra,  p.  184,  Editor's  note. 



ate  him  up  completely.  The  death  was  met,  however,  with  per- 
fect calm.  He  was  reborn  in  the  thirteenth  heaven  as  its  Indra, 
the  supreme  king  of  gods. 

The  future  savior  remained  up  there  for  twenty  oceans  of 
years,  far  aloft  among  the  heavenly  mansions,  yet  always  re- 
strained himself  like  a  true  Jaina,  practicing  moral  acts  with 
uninterrupted  concentration.  His  detachment  from  the  senses 
and  their  pleasures  had  matured  to  such  a  degree  that  he  could 
withstand  even  the  temptation  of  the  most  subtle  heavenly  de- 
lights. He  worshiped  the  Tirthankaras,  who  were  still  far  above 
him,  and  gave  example  to  the  gods  of  the  light  of  the  true  faith. 
He  was,  indeed,  more  like  their  spiritual  teacher  and  savior 
than  their  king.  And  so  it  was  evident  that  he  was  now  prepared 
to  enact  the  supreme  role  of  a  savior  of  gods  and  men.  Only 
once  again  should  he  ever  descend  to  earth;  this  time  for  that 
final  incarnation  which  was  to  mark  the  culmination  of  his 
progress  through  the  round  of  birth  and  death. 

It  is  recorded  that  the  Indra  of  the  Hall  Sudharma  (the  celes- 
tial storey  nearest  the  earth)  addressed  Kubera,  the  lord  of 
goblins,  who  controls  all  the  treasures  of  jewels  and  precious 
stones  hidden  in  the  mountains:  "The  Indra  of  the  thirteenth 
heaven,  high  above  me,  soon  will  descend  to  earth  and  become 
incarnate  as  the  son  of  the  king  of  Benares.  He  will  be  the 
twenty-third  Tirthankara  of  India.  Be  pleased,  therefore,  to 
rain  down  the  Five  Wonders  on  the  kingdom  of  Benares  and  on 
the  pious  monarch  and  the  faithful  queen  who  are  to  become 
the  parents  of  the  TTrthahkara." 

Thus  was  announced  the  beginning  of  that  incarnation  (in 
the  main  perhaps  historical)  which  we  considered  briefly  at  the 
opening  of  our  present  chapter.  Kubera,  the  goblin  king,  pre- 
pared to  execute  the  command,  and  as  a  result  of  his  activities 
there  came  down  from  the  sky  every  day,  during  the  six  months 
preceding  the  descent  of  the  savior  Piirsvanatha  to  the  womb  of 
the  queen,  no  less  than  thirty-five  millions  of  diamond-pieces, 

flowers  lrom  die  wish-fulfilling  trees  in  the  celestial  gardens  of 
the  gods,  showers  ol  clear  water  ot  the  sweetest  lragranee, 
divine  sounds  from  the  great  drums  of  the  most  auspicious  rain- 
clouds,  and  the  sweet  music  of  the  singing  ol  the  deities  of  the 
sky.The  splendor  of  Benares  increased  a  thousand  fold  and  the 
joy  of  the  people  knew  no  hounds.  For  such  are  the  portents 
that  always  signal  the  beginning  ol  the  <  ramie  satied  cere- 
monies that  celebrate  the  appearance  on  earth  of  a  Tlrthah- 
kara.  The  entire  world  tejokes  and  participates,  with  the  gods, 
as  chorus,  glorifying  each  sublime  event  in  this  great  culmina- 
tion of  the  life-monad's  career  to  perfection,  omniscience,  and 

On  a  supicinely  auspicious  night,  the  lovely  Queen  Vfimii 
dreamt  foui  teen  auspicious  dreams,  and  the  moment  King  Asva- 
sena  was  informed  of  them  he  understood  that  his  son  would 
be  a  savior— cither  a  Cakravartin  or  a  Tlrtharikara.  The  pure 
monad  came  down  to  the  royal  womb  of  its  last  earthly  mother 
in  the  auspicious  spring  month  known  as  Vaisakha,1-  descend- 
ing amidst  celestial  celebrations,  and  the  moment  it  imparted 
life  to  the  embryo,  which  had  already  been  three  months  in  the 
womb  (this  being  the  moment  of  its  reception  of  its  own  life), 
the  thrones  of  all  the  Indras  trembled  in  the  heavens  and  the 
expectant  mother  experienced  the  first  motion  of  her  child. 
The  deities  came  down  in  palatial  aerial  cars,  and,  entering  the 
royal  city,  celebrated  the  First  Kalyana,  "the  salutary  event  of 
the  enlivening  of  the  embryo  through  the  descent  of  the  life- 
monad  into  its  material  body"  (garbha-kalyana).  Seating  the 
king  and  queen  on  thrones,  they  joyfully  poured  sacred  water  on 
them  from  a  golden  pitcher,  offering  prayers  to  the  great  being 
within  the  womb;  and  Benares  resounded  with  divine  music. 
The  foremost  goddesses  of  heaven  were  delegated  to  care  for  the 
pregnant  lady;  and  to  please  her  they  would  converse  with  her 
on  various  entertaining  themes.  For  example,  they  would  play- 

18  A  lunar  month  corresponding  partly  to  April,  partly  to  May. 


fully  propose  difficult  questions  tor  her  to  answer:  but  the 
queen  could  always  reply  immediately;  for  she  had  within  her 
no  less  a  personage  than  the  conqueror  of  omniscience.  More- 
over, throughout  the  period  of  her  blessed  pregnancy,  she  was 
undisturbed  by  pain. 

When  the  son  was  born  the  thrones  of  all  the  Indras  trem- 
bled, and  the  gods  understood  that  the  Lord  had  seen  die  light 
of  day.  With  pomp  they  descended  for  the  celebration  of  the 
Second  Kalyana,  "the  salutary  event  of  the  Savior's  birth" 
(janma-kalyana).  The  child  was  of  a  beautiful  blue-black  com- 
plexion,13 grew  rapidly  in  beauty  and  young  strength,  and,  as  a 
boy,  enjoyed  traveling  from  place  to  place  on  horseback  and 
on  the  mighty  backs  of  the  great  royal  elephants.  He  frequently 
sported  in  the  water  with  the  water-gods  and  in  the  forest  with 
the  gods  of  the  trees  and  hills.  But  in  all  this  childlike  play- 
though  he  indulged  in  it  with  the  greatest  spirit— there  was 
manifest  the  pure  moral  sweetness  of  his  extraordinary  nature. 
He  assumed  and  began  to  practice  the  twelve  basic  vows  of  the 
adult  Jatna  householder  when  he  reached  the  age  of  eight.1* 

Now  Parsva's  maternal  grandfather  was  a  king  named  MahT- 
pala,  who,  when  his  wife  died,  became  so  disconsolate  that  he 
renounced  his  throne  and  retired  to  the  wilderness  to  practice 
the  severest  disciplines  known  to  the  penitential  groves.  There 

13  He  was  a  scion,  that  is  to  say,  of  the  non-Aryan,  aboriginal  stock  of 

14  The  Jaina  householder,  1,  must  not  destroy  life,  2.  must  not  tell  a  lie, 
3.  must  not  make  unpermitted  use  of  another  man's  property,  4.  must  be 
chaste,  5.  must  limit  his  possessions,  6.  must  make  a  perpetual  and  a  daily 
vow  to  go  only  in  certain  directions  and  certain  distances,  7.  must  avoid 
useless  talk  and  action,  8.  must  avoid  thought  of  sinful  things,  9.  must 
limit  the  articles  of  his  diet  and  enjoyment  for  the  day,  10.  must  worship 
at  fixed  times,  morning,  noon,  and  evening,  11.  must  fast  on  certain  days, 
and  12.  must  give  charity  in  the  way  of  knowledge,  money,  etc.,  every  day. 
(Tattvarlhadhigama  Sutra,  translated  with  commentary  by  J.  L.  Jaini, 
Sacred  Books  of  the  Jainas,  Arrali,  no  date,  Vol.  II,  pp.  142-143.) 


was,  however,  no  real  spirit  of  renunciation  in  this  passionate 
man.  He  was  an  example  of  that  archaic  type  of  cruel  asceti- 
cism—self-centered  though  diierted  to  lofty  ends— which  the 
Jaina  ideal  of  compassion  and  self-renunciation  was  intended 
to  supersede.  With  mailed  locks  and  a  deerskin  loincloth, 
full  of  passion  and  the  darkness  of  ignorance,  storing  tremendous 
energies  through  self-inflicted  sufferings,  Maltipala  moved  from 
forest  to  forest,  until  one  day  fie  was  in  the  neighborhood  of 
Benares,  practicing  a  particularly  arduous  spiritual  exercise 
known  as  the  penance  of  the  "Five  Fires."  ls  It  was  here  that  he 
was  accidentally  encountered  by  his  grandson,  the  beautiful 
child  of  his  lovely  daughter  Varna. 

The  boy  came  riding  on  an  elephant,  surrounded  by  the 
playmates  with  whom  he  had  entered  the  jungle;  and  when  the 
lively  company  broke  upon  the  grim  solitude  of  the  passion- 
ridden  old  hermit  among  the  (ires,  Mahipala  was  beside  him- 
self. He  cried  out  to  the  prince,  whom  he  immediately  recog- 
nized: "Am  1  not  your  mother's  father?  Was  1  not  borr,  of  an 
illustrious  family,  and  have  I  not  given  up  all  to  betake  myself 
to  the  wilderness?  Am  I  not  an  anchorite,  practicing  hete  the 
severest  possible  penances?  What  a  proud  little  fellow  you  are, 
not  to  greet  me  with  a  proper  salutation!" 

Pariva  and  the  company  halted  in  amazement. 

The  old  man  then  got  up  and  seized  an  ax,  which  he  prepared 
to  bring  down  on  a  huge  piece  of  timber— no  doubt  to  work  off 
something  of  his  temper,  but  ostensibly  to  cut  fuel  for  his  great 
system  of  fires.  But  the  boy  shouted  to  make  him  stop;  then  ex- 
plained: "There  are  dwelling  in  that  log  a  serpent  and  his  mate: 
do  not  murder  them  for  nothing." 

Mahlpala's  state  of  mind  was  not  improved  by  this  peremp- 
tory advice.  He  turned  and  demanded  with  searing  scorn:  "And 

10  Four  great  blazes  are  kindled  close  around  the  penitent,  one  in  each 
of  the  four  directions,  while  the  heat  of  the  Indian  sun  (the  "fifth  lire") 
throbs  down  from  above. 



who  are  you?  Brahma?  Visnu?  Siva?  1G  I  perceive  that  you  can 
see  everything,  no  matter  where."  He  raised  his  ax  and  deliber- 
ately brought  it  down.  The  tog  was  split.  And  there  were  the 
two  serpents,  cut  in  half. 

The  boy's  heart  bled  when  lie  beheld  the  writhing,  dying 
creatures.  "Do  you  not  feel  compassion?"  he  demanded  of  the 
old  man.  "Grandfather,  \ou  arc  without  knowledge.  These  aus- 
terities of  yours  are  absolutely  worthless." 

Mahipala,  at  that,  lost  all  control.  "I  see.  I  see,  1  seel"  he 
cried.  "Yon  arc  a  sage,  a  very  great  sage.  But  I  am  your  grand- 
father. Besides,  T  am  a  heimit.  I  practice  the  penance  of  the  Five 
Fires.  T  stand  for  days  on  one  leg  with  lifted  arms.  I  suffer  hun- 
ger; thirst;  break  mv  fast  only  with  dry  leaves.  Surely  it  is 
proper  that  a  youngster,  such  as  you,  should  call  the  austerities 
of  his  grandfather  fruitless  and  unwise!" 

The  little  prince  answered  firmly,  but  in  a  sweet  and  won- 
derfully gentle  tone.  "The  spirit  of  envy,"  he  said,  "infects  all 
of  your  practices;  and  you  are  killing  animals  here  every  day 
with  your  fires.  To  injure  others,  even  if  only  a  little,  is  to  be 
guilty  of  a  great  sin;  but  great  suffering  is  the  consequence  even 
of  a  little  sin.  Such  practices  as  yours,  divorced  as  they  are  from 
right  knowledge,  are  as  barren  as  chaff  separated  from  grain. 
Gi\e  up  this  meaningless  self-torture;  follow  the  way  of  the 
ITrtharikaras  and  perform  right  acts,  in  right  faith  and  right 
knowledge:  for  that  is  the  only  road  to  emancipation." 

The  Lord  Parwa  then  chanted  a  hymn  to  the  dying  serpents 
and  they  expired  in  his  presence  calmly.  He  returned  to  his 
palaie  and  the\— following  such  a  meritorious  death— weie 
immediately  reborn  in  the  underworld:  the  male  was  now 
Dharanendra,  "Lord  of  the  Karth"  (the  cosmic  snake,  Scsa,  who 

10  The  basic  Hindu  gods  aic  common  to  all  the  great  religions  of  India, 
Buddhism  and  Jainism  as  well  as  the  Hindu  sects;  cf.  supra,  p.  184,  Edi- 
tor's note. 


supports  the  earth  on  his  head),  and  the  female,  PadmavatI  (the 
goddess  LaksmI).  They  enjoyed  unbounded  delight. 

Crotchety  old  Maliipala,  it  must  now  be  told,  was  none  other 
than  the  wicked  brother.  As  a  lion,  he  had  slain  and  eaten  the 
savior  at  the  end  of  his  previous  incarnation,  and  in  conse- 
quence had  been  hurled  to  the  sufferings  of  the  fifth  hell,  where 
he  had  remained  for  a  period  of  seventeen  oceans  of  time. 
After  that,  for  a  period  of  three  oceans  of  time,  he  had  passed 
through  a  number  of  incarnations  in  the  forms  of  quadrupeds, 
during  the  last  of  which  he  performed  certain  meritorious  acts, 
and  in  reward  he  was  reborn  as  this  old  ruffian.  Hut  the  words 
of  the  grandson  bore  no  fruit.  The  hermit  continued  in  Ins  un- 
productive practices,  and  at  last  expired. 

The  prince  gicw  to  young  manhood,  and  when  he  arrived 
at  the  age  of  sixteen  his  lather  wished  to  procure  for  him  a 
bride,  but  the  youth  rejected  the  idea.  "My  life,"  he  said,  "is 
not  to  be  as  long  as  that  of  the  first  Tirthankaia,  the  Lord 
Rsabha;  for  1  am  to  live  to  be  only  one  hundred.  Sixteen  of  my 
short  years  have  already  been  whiled  awav  in  boyish  play, 
whereas  in  my  thirtieth  1  am  to  enter  the  Order.  Should  I  marry 
for  a  period  so  brief,  in  the  hope  of  knowing  a  few  pleasures, 
which,  after  all,  are  but  imperfect?" 

The  king  understood.  His  son  was  preparing  for  the  Great 
Renunciation;  all  efforts  to  restrain  him  would  be  in  vain. 

The  young  man  thought  within  his  heart,  which  now  was 
filled  with  the  spirit  of  renunciation-.  "For  many  long  years  t 
enjoyed  the  status  of  an  Indra;  yet  the  lust  for  pleasure  was  rot 
abated.  Of  what  use  will  a  few  drops  of  earthly  water  be  to  one 
whose  thirst  was  not  quenched  by  an  ambrosial  ocean?  The 
desire  for  pleasure  is  only  heightened  by  enjoyment,  as  the 
virulence  of  fire  by  the  addition  of  fuel.  Pleasures  at  the  mo- 
ment are  undoubtedly  pleasurable,  but  their  consequences  are 
bad;  for  to  satisfy  the  cravings  of  the  senses,  one  is  forced  to 
range  in  the  realms  of  pain,  paying  no  heed  to  moral  injunc- 


tions  and  indulging  in  the  worst  vices.  Hence  the  soul  is  com- 
pelled to  migrate  from  birth  to  birth,  entering  even  into  the 
kingdom  of  the  beasts  and  passing  through  the  spheres  of  the 
sufferings  of  hell.  Therefore,  I  shall  waste  no  more  of  my  years 
in  the  vain  pursuits  of  pleasure." 

The  future  TIrtharikara  thereupon  entered  the  "Twelve 
Meditations"  and  perceived  that  the  chain  of  existences  is  with- 
out beginning,  as  well  as  painful  and  impure,  and  that  the  self 
is  its  own  only  friend.  The  thrones  of  all  the  Indras  trembled 
in  the  heavens,  and  the  gods  descended  to  celebrate  the  Third 
lvalyaua:  "the  salutary  event  of  the  Renunciation"  (wmiyasa- 
kahfnia).  They  addicssed  themselves  to  the  young  savior,  "The 
world,"  they  said,  "sleeps  heavily,  enveloped  in  a  cloud  of  illu- 
sion. This  is  the  sleep  that  will  not  be  dispelled  except  by  the 
clarion-call  of  your  teaching.  You,  the  Enlightened,  the  waker 
of  the  infatuated  soul,  are  the  Savior,  the  great  Sun  before 
whom  the  lamplike  words  of  mere  gods,  such  as  ourselves,  are 
insignificant.  You  are  to  do  now  what  you  have  come  to  do: 
namely,  assume  the  vows,  annihilate  the  karma-foe,  dispel  the 
darkness  of  unknowing,  and  open  the  road  to  bliss."  They 
scattered  heavenly  flowers  at  his  feet. 

Four  Indras  descended,  together  with  their  retinues;  celestial 
trumpets  blew;  the  nymphs  of  heaven  began  to  sing  and  dance; 
deities  cried  out,  "Victory  to  the  Lord!"  and  the  Indra  of  the 
Sudharma-heaven  conducted  Parsva  to  a  throne,  which  had 
miraculously  appeared.  Just  as  a  king,  at  the  culminating  mo- 
ment of  the  ceremonial  of  the  "King's  Quickening"  (rajasuya), 
is  consecrated  by  an  aspersion  of  water,  so  was  Parsva  by  an 
elixir  from  the  divine  Milky  Ocean,  which  was  poured  from  a 
pitcher  of  gold.  His  body  being  then  adorned  with  celestial 
ornaments,  he  returned  to  his  parents  to  take  his  leave  of  them, 
and  he  consoled  them  with  gentle  words.  The  gods  thereafter 
conducted  him  in  a  heavenly  palanquin  to  the  forest. 

The  company  halted  beneath  a  certain  tree,  and  Parsva,  de- 

scending  from  the  palanquin,  took  his  siand  upon  a  stone  slab. 
The  tumult  of  the  multitude  subsided  as,  with  his  own  hands, 
he  began  to  remove  his  ornaments  and  garments,  one  by  one. 
When  he  was  completely  naked,  renunciation  filled  his  heart. 
He  faced  the  north,  and  with  folded  hands  bowed  in  honor  of 
the  Emancipated  Ones,  having  divested  himself  of  desire.  Pluck- 
ing from  his  head  five  hairs,  he  bestowed  them  on  Indra.  The 
god  accepted  these,  and,  returning  to  his  heaven,  reverently 
tossed  them  to  the  Milky  Ocean.  Thus  during  the  first  quarter 
of  the  eleventh  bright  day  of  the  moon  of  the  month  of  Pausa 
(December-January),  the  savior  assumed  his  final  vows.  Stand- 
ing in  a  rigid  posture,  fasting  with  absolute  endurance,  and  ob- 
serving with  perfect  care  the  twenty-eight  primary  and  the 
ninety-four  secondary  rules  of  the  Order,  Parsva  became  pos- 
sessed of  what  is  termed  the  manahparyaya  knowledge:  the 
knowledge  of  others'  thoughts.  Lions  and  fawns  played  together 
about  him,  while  in  every  part  of  the  forest  was  a  reign  of  peace. 

The  great  goal,  however,  was  not  to  be  attained  without  fur- 
ther event;  for  the  antagonist  had  yet  to  deal  his  final  stroke. 
One  day,  while  the  Savior  was  standing  perfectly  still,  erect,  ab- 
sorbed in  meditation,  the  car  of  a  god  of  the  luminary  order, 
Sarhvara  by  name,"  was  stopped  abruptly  in  its  airy  course— 
for  not  even  a  god  can  cut  through  the  radiance  of  a  saint  of 
Parsva's  magnitude,  absorbed  in  meditation.  Sarhvara,  since  he 
had  clairvoyant  knowledge,  realized  what  had  occurred;  but 
then,  suddenly,  he  knew  that  the  saint  was  Parsvanatha. 

Now  the  personage  in  the  chariot  was  the  antagonist  again— 
this  time  in  the  form  of  a  minor  deity,  in  consequence  of  powers 
gained  by  the  penances  of  old  MahTpala.  The  annoyed  god  de- 
termined, therefore,  to  resume  his  ancient  battle,  making  use 
this  time  of  the  supernatural  forces  that  he  commanded.  And 
so  he  brought  down  a  dense  and  terrible  darkness  and  conjured 

17  Called  also  Meghamalin,  viz.  in  Bhavadevasiiri's  Parhranatha  Caritra 
(cf.  Bloomfield,  op.  cit.,  pp.  117-118). 


up  a  howling  cyclone.  Trees  splintered  and  hurtled  through 
the  air.  The  earth  was  rent,  opening  with  a  roar,  and  the  high 
peaks  fell,  shattering  to  dust;  a  torrential  rain  descended.  Yet 
the  saint  remained  unmoved,  serene,  absolutely  lost  in  his  medi- 
tation. The  god,  exceedingly  wrathful,  became  as  hideous  as  he 
could:  face  black,  mouth  vomiting  fire,  and  he  was  like  the 
god  of  death,  garlanded  with  a  necklace  of  human  heads.  When 
he  rushed  at  Parsva,  gleaming  in  the  night,  he  fiercely  shouted, 
"Kill!  Kill!"  but  the  saint  never  stirred. 

The  whole  subterranean  domain  of  the  serpent  supporting 
the  earth  began  to  tremble,  and  the  great  Dharanendra,  "King 
of  Earth,"  said  to  his  consort,  the  goddess  Padmavatl:  "That 
compassionate  Lord  to  whose  sweet  teachings  at  the  time  of  our 
death  we  owe  our  present  splendor  is  in  danger."  The  two 
came  up,  made  obeisance  to  the  Lord,  who  remained  unaware 
of  the  arrival,  and  stationing  themselves  at  either  side  of  him, 
lifting  their  prodigious  forms,  spread  out  their  hoods,  so  that 
not  a  drop  of  the  torrent  touched  his  body.  The  apparitions 
were  so  large  and  terrifying  that  the  god  Samvara  turned  in  his 
chariot  and  fled.18 

ParsVa  then  broke  the  fetters  of  his  karma  one  by  one,  and 
became  absorbed  in  the  White  Contemplation,  by  which  even 
the  last  and  slightest  traces  of  the  human  desire  for  advantage 

18  Or,  according  to  another  version:  When  the  Lord  Parsva  placed  him- 
self beneath  an  asoka  tree,  determined  to  gain  enlightment,  an  asura 
named  Meghamalin  attacked  him  in  the  form  of  a  lion,  and  then  sent 
a  storm  of  rain  to  drown  him.  But  the  serpent  king  Dharana  wrapped 
his  body  around  him  and  covered  him  with  his  hood.  "Then  the  asura, 
seeing  such  great  firmness  in  the  Lord,  was  smitten  in  his  mind  with 
great  astonishment  and  his  pride  was  calmed.  He  made  obeisance  to 
the  victorious  one  and  went  to  his  own  place.  Dharana  also,  seeing  that 
the  danger  was  gone,  returned  to  his  place"  (Devendra's  commentary  to 
Uttmadltyayana  Sutra  23.  published  and  translated  by  Jarl  Charpen- 
tier,  Zettschrijt  der  Deutschen  Morgenlandischen  Gesellschaft,  LXIX,  1915, 


are  dissolved.  During  the  auspicious  fourteen tli  day  of  the 
waning  moon  in  the  month  oi  Caitia  (March -April),  the  last  of 
the  sixty-three  lies  associated  with  the  four  modes  of  destructive 
karma  broke,  and  the  universal  savior  gained  pure  omniscience. 
He  had  entered  the  thirteenth  stage  ol  psychical  development: 
he  was  "emancipated  though  embodied."  From  that  instant, 
every  particle  of  the  universe  was  within  the  purview  of  his 

Hi's  chief  aposlle,  Svayunbhu,  prayed  lcspcciiully  that  the 
Tlrtharikara  should  teach  the  world,  and  the  gods  prepared 
an  assembly  hall  of  twelve  part*.,  which  was  named  the  "Flock- 
ing Together"  {samavaswiana),  in  which  there  was  an  allotted 
place  for  every  species  of  being.  1  lie  multitudes  that  came  were 
tremendous.  And  to  all  without  distinction- quite  in  contrast 
to  the  way  of  the  Brahmans— the  compassionate  Lord  Parsva 
gave  Iiis  purifying  instruction.  I  lis  voice  was  a  mysteriously 
divine  sound.  The  highest  India  desired  him  to  preach  the 
true  religion  even  to  the  most  distant  parts  of  India,  and  he 
consented  to  do  so.  Wherever  he  went  a  "Flocking  Together" 
was  erected,  and  it  was  immediately  filled. 

Sarhvara  thought:  "Is  the  Lord  then  truly  such  an  unfailing 
source  of  happiness  and  peace?"  He  came  to  one  of  the  vast 
halls  and  listened.  Parsva  was  teaching.  And  all  at  once  the 
spirit  of  hostility  lhat  had  persisted  through  the  incarnations 
was  appeased.  Overwhelmed  with  remorse,  Samvara  flung  him- 
self at  the  feet  of  Parsvanatha  with  a  ciy.  And  the  Tlrtharikara, 
inexhaustible  in  his  kindness,  gave  consolation  to  the  one  who 
from  birth  to  birth  had  been  his  foe.  Sarhvara's  mind,  by  his 
brother's  grace,  opened  to  right  vision;  he  was  placed  on  the 
way  to  liberation.  Along  with  him,  seven  hundred  and  fifty- 
ascetics  who  had  been  stiff-necked  in  their  devotion  to  cruel 
penances— which,  according  to  the  Jaina  view,  arc  useless— 
gave  up  their  futile  practices  and  adopted  the  faith  of  the 



Parsvanatha  taught  for  sixty-nine  years  and  eleven  months, 
and  finally,  having  preached  throughout  the  lands  of  India, 
(anic  to  the  Sammcda  hill.18  lie  had  been  in  the  second  stage  of 
contemplation  up  to  this  time.  He  now  passed  to  the  third  stage. 
A  month  elapsed,  and  he  remained  absorbed. 

The  period  of  the  human  life  of  the  Tlrtharikara  was  about 
to  end.  When  no  more  of  it  remained  than  would  have  sufficed 
for  the  utterance  of  tlte  five  vowels,  Parsvanatha  passed  into  the 
fourth  stage  of  contemplation.  Seventy  years  before,  his  de- 
structive karmas  had  been  destroyed;  now  the  eighty-five  ties 
associated  with  the  four  modes  of  non-destructive  karma  were 
annihilated.  This  took  place  in  the  seventh  day  of  the  waxing 
moon  of  Sravana  (July-August),  and  the  Lord  Parsva  passed 
immediately  to  his  final  liberation.  His  life-monad  rose  to 
Siddha-sila,  the  peaceful  region  of  eternal  bliss  at  the  summit 
of  the  universe,  while  his  corpse  reposed  on  the  summit  of  the 
sacred  hill. 

With  their  various  Indras  in  the  lead,  the  gods  came  down  to 
celebrate  the  Fifth  and  Last  Kalyana:  "the  salutary  event  of 
the  Liberation"  (moksa-kalydna).  They  took  up  the  mortal  re- 
mains on  a  diamond  palanquin,  worshiping  them  reverently, 
poured  sweet-scented  substances  on  the  sacred  body,  and  bowed 
in  obeisance.  Then  from  the  head  of  the  god  Agni-kumara 
("The  Youthful  Prince  Fire")  a  blaze  shot  forth  of  heavenly 
flame,  and  the  body  was  consumed.  The  gods,  following  this 
cremation,  rubbed  the  sacred  ashes  on  their  heads  and  breasts, 
and  marched  to  their  celestial  places  with  triumphant  songs 
and  dances. 

To  this  day  Mount  Sammeda  is  known  as  the  Hill  of  Pars- 
vanatha, reminding  the  people  thus  of  the  twenty-third  Jaina 
Tlrtharikara,  who  there  attained  his  liberation,  and  thence  de- 
parted to  Siddha-Sila,  never  to  return. 

1B  Because  of  the  numerous  saints  and  sages  who  have  attained  Enlight- 
enment here,  this  place  is  sacred  to  the  Jainas. 

III.  Naga  King  and  Queen,  A  jama,  6th  ceniun  a.i>. 

IV.  (;.iiii;ini.i  limlilhii,  Camliodia,  i  nil  ccntui)  A.u. 

V.  I'ar£i.tiifnli.t.  Mm  Inn  a 

Vb.  IMisliiuiIm.  UiM  IihIi.i 
ifuli  01   i  —  i J i  [cimnv   \.n. 

\ll>.  IVivi;) 

IliiiL'    \.li 

\'i<.  Svrian  seal 

.';ii.  *.  i  i-,o  i;.( . 


Jaina  Images 

There  are  a  number  ot  close  conespondcnces  between  this 
legend  of  the  last  life  of  Parsvanatha  and  the  biography  of  the 
Lord  Buddha.  Moreover,  certain  images  ot  the  Buddha,  show- 
ing him  protected  by  a  serpent,  can  hardly  be  distinguished 
from  those  of  the  Jaina  Tlrtliahkara  (Plates  IV  and  V).  Unques- 
tionably the  two  religions  share  a  common  tradition.  The  births 
of  the  two  saviors  are  much  the  same;  so  too  arc  the  anecdotes 
of  the  marvelous  knowledge  they  displayed  as  children.  Sooth- 
sayers foretold  lor  each  the  career  either  of  a  Cakravartin  or  oi 
a  World  Redeemer.  Both  grew  up  as  princes,  but  departed  from 
l heir  fathers'  palaces  to  the  forest  to  engage  in  similar  enterprises 
of  ascetic  self-realization.  And  in  the  culminating  episodes  of 
the  biographies— the  attainment  of  fulfillment— Samvara's  attack 
on  ParsVanatha  corresponds  to  that  of  Mara,  the  god  of  desire 
and  death,  on  the  meditating  Gautama  Sakyamuni. 

For,  as  we  are  told,  when  the  Future  Buddha  had  taken  his 
place  beneath  the  Bo  Tree,  on  the  Immovable  Spot,  the  god 
whose  name  is  both  Mara  ("Death")  and  Kama  ("Desire") 20 
challenged  him,  seeking  to  move  him  from  his  state  of  concen- 
tration. In  the  character  of  Kama,  he  deployed  the  world's  su- 
preme distraction  before  the  meditating  savior,  in  the  form  of 
three  tempting  goddesses  together  with  their  retinues,  and  when 
these  failed  to  produce  the  usual  effect,  resorted  to  his  terrible 
form  of  Mara.  With  a  mighty  host  he  attempted  to  terrify  and 
even  slay  the  Buddha— causing  mighty  storms  of  wind,  showers 
of  rain,  flaming  rocks,  weapons,  live  coals,  hot  ashes,  sand,  boiling 
*>Cf.  supra,  pp.  143-145- 



mud,  and  finally  a  great  darkness  to  assail  him.  But  the  Future 
Buddha  was  not  moved.  The  missiles  became  flowers  as  they 
entered  the  field  of  his  concentration.  Mara  hurled  a  keen  discus, 
but  it  changed  into  a  canopy  of  blossoms.  Then  the  god  chal- 
lenged the  right  of  the  Blessed  One  to  be  sitting  there,  beneath 
the  Bo  Tree,  on  the  Immovable  Spot;  whereupon  the  Future 
Buddha  only  touched  the  earth  with  the  tips  of  the  fingers  of  his 
right  hand  and  the  earth  thundered,  testifying:  "I  bear  you 
witness!"  with  a  hundred,  a  thousand,  a  hundred  thousand  roars. 
Mara's  army  dispersed,  and  all  the  gods  of  the  heavens  descended 
with  garlands,  perfumes,  and  other  offerings  in  their  hands. 

That  night,  while  the  Bo  Tree  beneath  which  he  sat  rained 
down  red  blossoms,  the  Savior  acquired  in  the  first  watch  the 
knowledge  of  his  previous  existences,  in  the  middle  watch  the 
divine  eye,  and  in  the  last  the  understanding  of  dependent 
origination.  He  was  now  the  Buddha.  The  ten  thousand  worlds 
quaked  twelve  times,  as  far  as  to  the  ocean  shores.  Flags  and 
banners  broke  from  every  quarter.  Lotuses  bloomed  on  every 
tree.  And  the  system  of  the  ten  thousand  worlds  was  like  a 
bouquet  of  flowers  sent  whirling  through  the  air.-1 

Obviously  this  final  victory  closely  resembles  that  of  Par- 
svanatha,  except  that  the  serpent,  "Lord  of  the  Earth,"  has  not 
yet  appeared.  Instead,  the  Earth  herself  defends  the  hero.  How- 
ever, the  Buddha  legend  goes  on  to  relate  that  the  Blessed  One 
sat  cross-legged  seven  days  at  the  fool  of  the  Bo  Tree,  following 
this  achievement,  enjoying  the  bliss  of  emancipation,  then 
moved  to  the  Banyan  Tree  of  the  Goatherd,  where  he  sat  an- 
other seven  days,  and  next  moved  to  the  so-called  Mucalinda 
Tree.  Now  Mucalinda  was  the  name  of  a  great  serpent,  and  his 
abode  was  among  the  roots  of  this  very  tree.  While  the  Buddha 
was  experiencing  there  the  beatitude  of  enlightenment,  there 

31  Jdtaka  i.  68.  (Reduced  from  the  translation  by  Henry  Clarke  Warren, 
Buddhism  in  Translations,  Harvard  Oriental  Series,  Vol.  Ill,  Cambridge, 
Mass.,  1922,  pp.  76-83.) 



appeared  a  mighty  tliunderhead  out  of  season,  a  cold  wind 
blew,  and  the  rain  began  to  pour.  "Then  issued  Mucalinda,  the 
serpent-king,  from  his  abode,  and  enveloping  the  body  of  the 
Blessed  One  seven  times  with  his  folds,  spread  his  great  hood 
above  his  head,  saying,  'Let  neither  cold  nor  heat,  nor  gnats, 
flies,  wind,  sunshine,  nor  creeping  creatures  come  near  the 
Blessed  One!'  Then,  when  seven  days  had  elapsed,  and  Muca- 
linda, the  serpent-king,  knew  that  the  storm  had  broken  up, 
and  that  the  clouds  had  gone,  he  unwound  his  coils  from  the 
body  of  the  Blessed  One.  And  changing  his  natural  appearance 
into  that  of  a  young  man,  he  stood  before  the  Blessed  One,  and 
with  his  joined  hands  to  his  forehead  did  reverence  to  the 
Blessed  One."  2S 

The  precise  relationship  of  the  Jaina  and  the  Buddhist  ver- 
sions cannot  be  reconstructed.  Both  may  have  originated  from 
the  simple  circumstance  that  when  the  wealthy  lay  folk  of  the 
two  denominations  began  employing  craftsmen  to  fashion 
images  of  their  saviors,  the  principal  models  for  the  new  works 
of  art  had  to  be  supplied  by  older  Indian  prototypes,  chief 
among  which  were  the  yaksa  and  the  naga— patterns  of  the  wise 
superhuman  being  endowed  with  miraculous  insight  and  power 
that  had  figured  prominently  in  the  household  cult  of  India  from 
time  immemorial.  These  were  popularly  regarded  as  protecting 
genii  and  bringers  of  prosperity.  Their  forms  appear  on  every 
doorpost  and  on  most  local  shrines.  Yaksas  (the  earth  and  fertility 
spirits)  are  represented  as  robust  standing  figures  in  human 
form,  whereas  nagas  (the  semi-human  serpent  genii),  though 
generally  depicted  in  human  shape  also,  frequently  have  the 
head   protected  by   a   giant  serpent  hood   as  in   Plate  111.'3 

22  Mahavagga,  opening  sections,  from  the  translation  by  Warren,  op. 
cit.,  pp.  85-86. 

25  Other  naga  forms  are  the  serpent,  the  serpent  with  numerous  heads, 
and  the  human  torso  with  serpent  tail.  Cf.  Zimmer,  Myths  and  Symbols 
in  Indian  Art  and  Civilization,  pp.  59ft. 


When  the  artist-craftsmen  who  for  centuries  had  been  supply- 
ing images  for  the  general  needs  of  Indian  household  worship 
added  to  their  catalogue  the  figures  of  the  sectarian  saviors, 
Parsva  and  the  Buddha,  they  based  their  conceptions  on  the 
older  forms,  and  sometimes  suppressed,  but  sometimes  also  re- 
tained, the  superhuman  serpent  attributes.  These  characteristic 
signs  of  the  supernatural  being  seem  to  have  supplied  the  model 
for  the  later  Buddhist  halo  (compare  Plate  X);  and  it  is  by 
no  means  improbable  that  the  special  legends  of  Dharanendra 
and  Mucalinda  came  into  existence  simply  as  later  explanations 
of  the  combination  of  the  figures  of  the  serpent  and  the  savior 
in  Jaina  and  Buddhist  images. 

The  Jaina  version  of  the  legend  is  more  dramatic  than  the 
Buddhist  and  gives  the  serpent  a  more  important  role.  More 
striking  still  are  those  J  aina  images  of  Parsvanatha  that  represent 
him  with  two  serpents  sprouting  from  his  shoulders  (Plate  Via): 
these  point  to  a  connection  of  some  kind  with  ancient  Mcsopo- 
tamian  art  (Plate  Vic),  and  suggest  something  of  the  great  antiq- 
uity of  the  symbols  incorporated  in  the  Jaina  cult.  In  the  Near 
East,  following  the  period  of  the  teaching  of  Zoroaster  (first  part 
of  the  first  millennium  b.c),  when  the  Persian  pantheon  was  sys- 
tematized in  terms  of  good  (heavenly)  versus  evil  (earthly) 
powers,  the  serpent  became  classified  among  the  latter.  As  such, 
we  find  him  not  only  in  the  Hebrew  Bible  in  the  role  of  Satan, 
but  also  in  late  Persian  art  and  legend  as  the  Dahhak— the  great 
tyrant-villain  of  Firdausfs  medieval  Persian  epic.  Shdhnamah 
(1010  A.n.).  In  the  latter  role,  the  figure  is  represented  in  human 
form  with  serpents  springing  from  his  shoulders  (Plate  VIb),Si 
looking  much  like  an  evil  or  frightful  brother  of  Parsvanatha. 

The  first  of  the  twenty-four  Jaina  Tirtharikaras,  Rsabhanatha, 

"An  earlier  form  of  this  Persian  figure  is  preserved  in  the  Armenian 

tradition,  where  Azhdahak  (=  Avestan  Azhi  Dahaka  >  Pahlavi  Dahak  > 

Modern  Persian  pahhak),  the  dragon  lord,  is  represented  in  human  form 

with  serpents  springing  from  his  shoulders.  Azhdahak  is  conquered  by 



who  is  supposed  to  have  lived  and  taught  in  the  remotest  pre- 
historic past,  is  shown  in  Plate  VII:  a  typical  Jaina  vision  of 
the  perfected  saint,  completely  detached  irom  worldly  bondage 
because  absolutely  purified  of  (lie  elements  of  karma  that  color 
and  deform  our  normal  human  lives.  This  piece  of  sculpture 
belongs  to  the  eleventh,  twelfth,  or  thirteenth  century  a.d.,  and 
is  carved  of  alabaster— the  preferred  material  for  the  representa- 
tion of  the  clarified  state  of  the  Tlrtharikara;  for  it  well  sug- 
gests the  sublime  translucency  of  a  body  purified  of  the  dross  of 
tangible  matter.  By  means  of  prolonged  penances  and  absten- 
tions the  Jaina  saint  systematically  purges  himself  not  only  of 
his  egotistical  reactions  but  also  of  his  biological  physicality. 
And  so  it  is  said  of  him  that  his  body  is  "of  a  miraculous  beauty 
and  of  a  miraculously  pure  fragrance.  It  is  not  subject  to  disease, 
and  is  devoid  of  perspiration  as  well  as  of  all  the  uncleanliness 
originating  from  the  processes  of  digestion."  2S  It  is  a  body  akin 
to  those  of  the  gods,  who  do  not  feed  on  gross  food,  do  not  per- 
spire, and  never  know  fatigue.  "The  breath  of  the  Tirthan- 
karas  is  like  the  fragrance  of  water  lilies;  their  blood  is  white, 
like  milk  fresh  from  the  cow."  Hence  they  are  of  the  hue  of 
alabaster— not  yellow,  rosy,  or  darkish,  like  people  whose  veins 
are  filled  with  blood  that  is  red.  "And  their  flesh  is  devoid  of 
the  smell  of  flesh." 

This  is  what  is  expressed  through  both  the  material  and  the 
posture  of  this  Jaina  statue  of  the  first  savior.  The  stone  is  milk- 
white,  shining  as  with  a  milky  glow  of  divine  light,  while  the 
rigid  symmetry  and  utter  immobility  of  the  stance  render  a 
statement  of  spiritual  aloofness.  A  Tirtharikara  is  represented, 
preferably,  if  not  seated  in  yoga  posture,  then  standing  in  this 

Vahagn,  just  as  the  Vedic  Ahi  (or  Vrtra)  by  Indra,  Avestan  Azhi  Dahaka  by 
Atar  (the  Fire  God,  son  of  Abura  Mania),  and  the  Serpent  of  the  Garden 
of  Eden  by  the  Son  of  Mary. 

28  Hclmuth  von  Glascnapp,  Der  Jainismus,  Etne  indische  Erlosungs- 
religion,  Berlin,  1925.  p.  252. 



attitude  of  "dismissing  the  body"  (k ay olsarga)— rigid,  erect,  and 
immobile,  with  arms  held  stiffly  down,  knees  straight,  and  the  toes 
directly  forward.  The  ideal  physique  of  such  a  superman  is  com- 
pared to  the  body  of  a  lion:  powerful  chest  and  shoulders,  no  hips, 
slim  feline  buttocks,  a  tall  pillarlike  abdomen,  and  strong  toes 
and  fingers,  elongated  and  well  formed.  The  chest,  broad  and 
smooth  from  shoulder  to  shoulder,  fully  expanded  and  with- 
out the  least  hollowness,  shows  the  effect  of  prolonged  breath- 
ing exercises,  practiced  according  to  the  rules  of  yoga.  Such  an 
ascetic  is  termed  a  "hero"  (v ira),  for  he  has  achieved  the  supreme 
human  victory:  this  is  the  sense  of  the  title  Mahavira,  "the 
great  (mahat)  hero  (vim),"  which  was  bestowed  on  the  Buddha's 
contemporary,  Vardhainana,  the  twenty-fourth  Tirtharikara. 
The  saint  is  termed  also  ]ina,  the  "victor,"  and  his  disciples, 
therefore,  Jainas,  the  "followers,  or  sons,  of  the  victor." 

In  ancient  times  the  Jaina  monks  went  about  completely 
naked,  having  put  away  all  those  caste  marks  and  particularizing 
tokens  that  are  of  the  essence  of  Indian  costume  and  symbolize 
the  wearer's  involvement  in  the  web  of  human  bondage.  Later 
on,  in  Mahavlra's  period,  many  assumed  a  white  garment  as  a 
(oncession  to  decency  and  termed  themselves  Svetambara, 
"those  whose  garment  (ambara)  is  white  (h/eta)."  This  raiment 
denoted  their  ideal  of  alabaster-like  purity,  and  so  was  not  too 
great  a  departure  from  the  heroic  mode  of  the  conservathes, 
who  continued  to  style  themselves  Digambara,  "those  whose 
garment  (ambara)  is  the  clement  that  fills  the  four  quarters  of 
space  (dig)."  ao  The  Tirthankaras  are  therefore  sometimes  de- 

28  At  the  time  of  Alexander  the  Great's  raid  across  the  Indus  (327-326 
b.c).  the  Digambara  were  still  numerous  enough  to  attract  the  notice  of 
the  Greeks,  who  called  them  gymnosophists,  "naked  philosophers,"  a 
most  appropriate  name.  They  continued  to  flourish  side  by  side  with  the 
Svetambara  until  after  1000  A.r>.,  when,  through  Moslem  rule,  they  were 
forced  to  put  on  clothes. 

Editor's  note:  Dr.  Zimmer's  view  of  the  relationship  of  those  "clothed 
in  space"  to  those  "clothed  in  white"  differs  from  that  of  the  Svetambaras, 

VII.   Rs;ihli;ni;llli;i,  Munnl  Abu,  nlli  In  rjlli  ren  huffs  \.i>. 

MM    Cannula,  siav.m.i  l',r]snl.i,  i    i|8{   \  n 


pictcd  naked,  and  sometimes  clad  in  white.  Rsabhanatha,  in  the 
alabaster  monument  under  discussion,  wears  a  thin  silken  robe, 
covering  his  hips  and  legs. 

But  there  is  a  special  problem  that  arises  in  Jaina  iconog- 
raphy as  a  result  of  the  drastic  purity  of  the  ideal  of  the  Tir- 
thahkara.  The  sculptor  cannot  be  allowed  to  damage  the  sense 
of  his  representation  by  modifying  in  any  way  the  perfect  isola- 
tion and  non-pat  ticularity  of  the  released  beings.  The  pristine 
life-monads  aie  to  be  represented  without  fault.  How,  then,  is 
the  worshiper  to  distinguish  one  of  these  "victors"  from  an- 
other, since  all—having  transcended  the  sphere  of  time,  change, 
and  specification— are  as  alike  as  so  many  certified  eggs?  The 
solution  to  the  difficulty  was  the  simple  one  of  providing  every 
image  with  an  emblem  that  should  refer  either  to  the  name  or 
to  some  distinctive  detail  of  the  legend  of  the  Tirthankara  in- 
tended. This  is  why  the  statue  of  Rsabhanatha— literally  "Lord 
(vatha)  Bull  (rsabha)"—&hovi%  a  little  zebu-bull  beneath  the 
savior's  feet.  The  effect  of  such  a  juxtaposition  is  that  in  dra- 
matic contiaM  to  these  accompanying  figures,  which  are  lemi- 
niscent  of  the  world  and  life  from  which  the  Tirthahkara  has 
withdrawn,  the  majestic  aloofness  of  the  perfected,  balanced, 
absolutely  self-contained  figure  of  the  saint  becomes  emphasized 
in  its  triumphant  isolation.  The  image  of  the  released  one 
seems  to  be  neither  animate  nor  inanimate,  but  pervaded  by  a 
strange  and  timeless  calm.  It  is  human  in  shape  and  feature,  yet 

who  regard  themselves  as  representing  the  original  Jaina  practice  and 
hold  that  a  schism  in  the  year  83  a.d.  gave  lise  to  the  Digambaras.  The 
evidence  of  the  Greeks,  however,  speaks  for  the  existence  of  gymno- 
sophists  at  least  as  early  as  the  fourth  century  b.c,  and  tends  to  support 
the  claim  of  the  Digambaras  that  it  is  they  who  have  preserved  the  earlier 
practice.  According  to  the  Digambara  theory  of  the  schism,  a  sect  of  lax 
principles  arose  under  Bhadrabahu,  the  eighth  successor  of  Mahavlra, 
which  in  80  a.i>.  developed  into  the  present  community  of  the  Svetambaias 
(cf.  Hermann  Jacobi,  "Digambaras."  in  Hastings,  Encyclopaedia  of  Reli- 
gion and  Ethics,  Vol.  IV,  p.  704) . 



as  inhuman  as  an  icicle;  and  thus  expresses  perfectly  the  idea 
of  successful  withdrawal  from  the  round  of  life  and  death,  per- 
sonal cares,  individual  destiny,  desires,  sufferings,  and  events. 
Like  a  pillar  of  some  supratcrrestrial,  unearthly  substance,  the 
Tirtharikara,  the  "Crossing-Maker,"  the  breaker  of  the  path 
across  the  stream  of  time  to  the  final  release  and  bliss  of  the  other 
shore,  stands  supernally  motionless,  absolutely  unconcerned 
about  the  worshiping,  jubilant  crouds  that  throng  around  his 

At  Sravana  Bclgola,  Hasan  District,  Mysore,  is  a  colossal  figure 
(Plate  VIII)  of  this  kind  that  was  erected  about  0,83  a.d.  by 
Camuntfaraya,  the  minister  of  King  Rajamalla  of  the  Ganga 
dynasty.  It  is  hewn  from  a  \ertical  rock  needle,  a  prodigious 
monolith,  on  a  hilltop  four  luuiched  feet  above  the  town.  The 
image  measures  fifty-six  and  one-half  feet  in  height  and  thirteen 
feet  around  the  hips,  and  is  thus  one  of  the  largest  free-standing 
figures  in  the  world;  the  feet  are  placed  on  a  low  platform. 
The  savior  represented  is  indicated  by  vines  clambering  tip  his 
body,  which  refer  to  an  episode  in  the  biography  of  Gommata 
(also  called  Bahubali,  "strong  of  arm"),  the  son  of  the  first  Tir- 
thankara, Rsabhanatha.  He  is  supposed  to  have  stood  unflinch- 
ingly for  a  year  in  his  yoga  posture.  The  vines  crept  up  to  his 
arms  and  shoulders;  anthills  arose  about  his  feet;  he  was  like 
a  tree  or  rock  of  the  wilderness.  To  this  day  the  entire  surface 
of  this  statue  is  anointed  every  twenty-five  years  with  melted 
butter,  as  a  result  of  which  it  still  looks  fresh  and  clean. 

There  is  a  legend  to  the  efTct  t  that  the  image  goes  back  to  a 
date  much  earlier  than  983  A.n.,  and  that  for  ages  it  was  forgot- 
ten, the  memory  of  its  location  being  completely  lost.  Bharata, 
the  first  of  India's  mythical  Cakravartins,27  is  supposed,  accord- 

27  For  the  legend  of  the  birth  of  Bharata,  sec   Kalidasa's  celebrated 
plav,  Sakunfala    (Everyman's  Library,  No.  629).  Bharata  was  the  ancestor 
of  the  clam  of  the  Mahabharala.  The  land  of  India  itself  is  called  Bharata 
("descended  from  Bharata"),  as  are  also  its  inhabitants. 


ing  to  tliis  account,  to  have  erected  it;  Ravana,  the  fabulous 
chieftain  of  the  demons  ol  Ceylon,  paid  it  worship;  and  when  it 
passed,  thereafter,  from  the  memory  of  man,  it  became  covered 
with  earth.  The  old  legend  (ells  us  that  Camundaraya  was  in- 
formed of  its  existence  by  a  traveling  merchant  and  so  made 
a  pilgrimage  lo  the  sacied  plate  with  his  mother  and  a  few  com- 
panions. When  the  party  atri\ed,  a  female  earth-divinity,  the 
yaksini  Kusmandl,  who  had  been  an  attendant  of  the  Tirthan- 
kara  Aristancmi,  manifested  herself  and  pointed  out  the  hidden 
site.  Then,  with  a  golden  uriow,  Camundaraya  split  the  hill 
and  the  colossal  figure  could  be  seen.  The  earth  was  cleared 
away  and  craltsmen  were  brought  to  cleanse  the  image  and 
lestore  it.28 

The  emblems  of  the  Tirtharikaras  are  as  follows:  i.  Rsabha, 
bull,  2.  Ajita,  elephant,  3.  &tmbhava,  horse,  4.  Abhinandana, 
ape,  5.  Sumati,  heron,  6.  Padmaprabha,  red  lotus,  7.  Suparsva, 
swastika,  8.  Candraprabha,  moon,  9.  Suvidhi,  dolphin,  10.  Si- 
tala.  srwalsa  (a  sign  on  the  breast),  11.  Sreyamsa,  rhinoceros, 
12.  Vasupujya,  buffalo,  13.  Vimala,  hog,  14.  Ananta,  hawk,  15. 
Dharma,  thunderbolt,  16.  Santi,  antelope,  17.  Kunthu,  goat, 
18.  Ara,  nandyavarta  (a  diagram),  19.  Malli,  jar,  20.  Suvrata, 
tortoise,  21.  Nanii,  blue  lotus,  22.  Aristancmi,  conch  shell,29 

-*  Glasenapp,  op.  <it.,  pp.  392-393.  According  to  another  legend  (also 
noted  by  Glasenapp).  Camundaraya  had  this  image  made  after  the  pattern 
of  an  invisible  model  of  Bharata,  in  Potunapura. 

There  is  a  statue  of  Gommaia.  twenty  feet  high,  on  a  hill  fifteen  miles 
southwest  of  the  city  of  Mysore.  Another  was  erected  in  1432  by  Prince 
Virapandya  of  Karkala,  South  Kanara,  Madras.  And  in  1604,  in  the  same 
district,  in  Vanur  (Yenur).  still  another,  thirty-seven  feet  high,  was  set  up 
by  Timma  Raja,  who  may  have  been  a  descendant  of  Camundaraya. 
Some  of  these  figures  arc  supposed  to  have  come  into  existence  without 
human  effort.  Others  were  made  by  the  saints  of  ancient  legends  and  then, 
like  the  colossus  of  Camundaraya,  as  described  above,  rediscovered  by 

28  Aristanemi,  or  Ncminatha,  Parsva's  immediate  predecessor,  is  related, 
through  his  half-legendary  biography,  to  Krsna,  the  prophet  of  the  Hindu 


23.  Parsva,  serpent,  24.  Mahrivfra,  lion.  The  standing  attitude 
in  which  they  are  commonly  shown  exhibits  a  characteristic, 
puppetlike  rigidity  that  comes  of— and  denotes— inner  absorp- 
tion. The  posture  is  called  "dismissing  the  body"  (kayotsarga). 
The  modeling  avoids  details  and  yet  is  not  Hat  or  incorporeal; 
for  the  savior  is  without  weight,  without  throbbing  life  or  any 
promise  of  delight,  yet  is  a  body— an  ethereal  reality  with 
milk  in  its  veins  instead  of  blood.  The  empty  spaces  left  be- 
tween the  arms  and  the  trunk,  and  between  the  legs,  aie  con- 
sciously intended  to  emphasize  the  splendid  isolation  of  the 
unearthly  apparition.  There  is  no  striking  contour,  no  interest- 
ing trait  of  individuality,  no  cutting  profile  breaking  into  space, 
but  a  mystic  calm,  an  anonymous  serenity,  which  we  aie  not 
even  invited  to  share.  And  the  nakedness  is  as  far  removed  as 
the  stars,  or  as  bare  rock,  from  sensuality;  for  in  Indian  art 
nakedness  is  not  intended  to  suggest  either  sensuous  charm  (as 
it  is  in  the  Greek  images  of  the  nymphs  and  Aphrodites)  or  an 
ideal  of  perfect  bodily  and  spiritual  manhood,  developed 
through  competitive  sport  (as  in  the  Greek  statues  of  the 
youthful  athletes  who  triumphed  in  the  sacred  contests  at 
Olympia  and  elsewhere).  The  nakedness  of  Indian  goddesses  is 
that  of  the  fertile,  indifferent  mother  earth,  while  that  of  the 
stark  Tlrthankaras  is  ethereal.  Composed  of  some  substance 
that  does  not  derive  from,  or  link  one  to,  the  circuit  of  life, 
the  truly  "sky-clad"  (digambara)  Jaina  statue  expresses  the  per- 
fect isolation  of  the  one  who  has  stripped  off  every  bond.  His  is 
an  absolute  "abiding  in  itself,"  a  strange  but  perfect  aloofness, 
a  nudity  of  chilling  majesty,  in  its  stony  simplicity,  rigid  con- 
tours, and  abstraction. 

The  form  of  the  image  of  the  Tlrthankara  is  like  a  bubble: 
at  first  sight  seemingly  a  bit  primitive  in  its  inexpressive  atti- 

Jihagavad  (iita.  Krsna  belongs  to  the  period  of  the  Mahabkarata, 
which  marks  the  conclusion  of  the  Aryan  feudal  age  (cf.  supra,  p.  67,  Editor's 



tude— simply  standing  on  its  two  legs— but  actually  highly 
conscious  and  rather  sophisticated  in  its  avoidance  of  all  the 
dynamic,  glamorous,  and  triumphant  achievements  of  the  con- 
temporary I  lindu  art 30— the  wonderful ,  vital  sculpture  of  Elura, 
Badami,  and  elsewhere.  Uy  the  Jaina  saint— and  artist— the  rest- 
less vitality  both  of  the  I  lindu  gods  and  of  their  mythical  cosmic 
display  is  ignored  deliberately,  as  though  in  protest.  Through  a 
translucent  alabaster  silence  the  great  Passage-breaking  doctrine 
is  revealed  of  the  Jaina  way  of  escape  from  that  universal  mani- 
fold of  enticement  and  delusion.31 

For  it  is  important  to  bear  in  mind  that  the  Tirthankaras  and 
their  images  belong  to  a  totally  different  sphere  from  that  of  the 
orthodox  Hindu  devotions.  The  Hindu  gods,  dwelling  in  the 
heavens  that  ParsVanatha  transcended,  still  are  accessible  to 
human  prayer,  whereas  the  supreme  release  attained  by  the 
Tirthankaras  places  them  beyond  all  earthly  solicitude.  They 
can  never  be  moved  from  their  eternal  isolation.  Superficially, 
their  cult  may  resemble  that  of  the  Hindu  deities,  who  not  only 
graciously  heed  the  prayers  of  man  but  even  condescend  to  come 
down  into  the  lifeless  temple  images— as  to  a  throne  or  seat 
(pltha) 82— in  response  to  consecrating  rituals  of  conjuration  and 

30  For  examples  of  Hindu  and  Buddhist  art,  compare  Plates  I,  II,  III,  IV, 
IX,  X,  XI,  XII. 

81  The  Jainas  in  their  temple  building,  on  the  other  hand,  usually  fol- 
lowed the  structural  tradition  of  the  Hindu  sects.  The  Jaina  temples 
of  Rajputana  and  Gujarat  belong  to  the  same  period  to  which  we  owe 
the  magnificent  Hindu  monuments  of  Upper  India,  which  were  con- 
structed just  before  the  Moslem  invasions  of  the  tenth  to  thirteenth  centuries 
a.d.  At  that  time  the  Ganga  kings  erected  the  Sikhara  ("tower")  temples 
of  Orissa,  and  the  tower  temples  at  Khajuraho  were  constructed.  The 
Jaina  phase  of  this  rich  period  begins  with  the  structures  of  Palitana  (960 
a.d.)  and  closes  with  the  Tejahpala  temple  at  Mount  AbO  (1*3*  a.d.).  Two 
notable  monuments  are  Vimala  Sha's  temple  at  Mount  Abu  (a  1032) 
and  the  temple  at  Dabhoi,  in  Gujarat  (c.  1254).  Cf.  Ananda  K.  Coomara- 
swamy.  History  of  Indian  and  Indonesian  Art. 

«*  Cf.  infra,  pp.  35 1  -588. 



invitation;  for  the  Jainas  pay  profound  respect  to  the  statues  of 
their  Tlrthankaras  and  recount  legends  of  their  miraculous 
origin.  Nevertheless  the  attitude  is  not  precisely  that  of  worship. 
The  following  story,  told  of  the  Lord  Parsva  in  his  next  to  last 
earthly  life,  gives  the  clue  to  the  special  character  of  the  Jaina 

The  savior's  name  then,  it  will  ho  remembered,  was  King 
Anandakumara.33  When  he  had  defeated  the  rulers  of  the  sur- 
rounding nations  and  become  a  Cakravartin,  his  minister  sug- 
gested that  he  should  hold  a  religious  celebration  in  honor  of 
the  Tirtharikara  Aristanemi;  but  when  the  king  entered  the 
temple  to  worship  he  was  disturbed  by  a  doubt.  "What  is  the 
use,"  he  thought,  "of  bowing  before  an  image,  for  an  image  is 
unconscious?"  There  was  a  saint  in  the  temple  at  the  time,  how- 
ever, named  Vipulamati,  and  he  removed  this  doubt.  "An  im- 
age," he  told  the  king,  "affects  the  mind.  If  one  holds  a  red 
flower  before  a  glass  the  glass  will  be  red;  if  one  holds  up  a  dark 
blue  flower  the  glass  will  be  dark  blue.  Just  so.  the  mind  is 
changed  by  the  presence  of  an  image.  Contemplating  the  form 
of  the  passionless  Lord  in  a  Jaina  temple,  the  mind  becomes  filled 
automatically  with  a  sentiment  of  renunciation;  whereas  at  the 
sight  of  a  courtesan  it  becomes  restless.  No  one  can  regard  the 
peaceful,  absolute  form  of  the  Lord  without  recalling  the  noble 
qualities  of  the  Lord;  and  this  influence  is  the  more  forceful 
if  one  worships.  The  mind  straightway  becomes  purified.  But 
given  purity  of  mind,  one  is  already  on  the  way  to  final  bliss." 

The  sage  Vipulamati  then  illustrated  his  lesson  for  the  king 
with  a  metaphor  that  has  many  counterparts  in  the  various  tra- 
ditions of  India,  non-Jaina  as  well  as  Jaina.  "In  a  certain  town," 
he  said,  "there  was  a  beautiful  public  woman  who  died,  and  her 
body  was  brought  to  the  cremation  ground.  A  certain  licentious 
man  who  chanced  to  be  there  looked  upon  her  beauty  and 
thought  how  fortunate  he  would  have  deemed  himself  could 

asCf-  sufira,  p.  193.  See  also,  p.  181.  note  1. 


he,  but  once  in  his  lifetime,  have  had  the  opportunity  of  enjoying 
her.  Simultaneously  a  dog  that  was  there,  seeing  the  corpse 
going  into  the  lire,  thought  what  dainty  meals  it  would  have 
made  for  him  had  they  not  determined  to  waste  it  in  the  flames. 
But  a  saint,  also  present,  thought  how  regrettable  that  anyone 
endowed  with  such  a  body  should  have  neglected  to  make  use 
of  it  in  difficult  yoga  exercises. 

"There  was  but  one  corpse  in  that  place,"  said  Vipulamati, 
"and  yet  it  produced  three  sorts  of  feeling  in  three  different 
witnesses.  An  external  thing  will  tints  have  its  effect  according 
to  the  nature  and  purity  of  the  mind.  The  mind,"  he  concluded, 
"is  purified  by  the  contemplation  and  worship  of  the  Tirthan- 
karas.  Images  of  the  TTrtharikaras  make  one  (it.  therefore,  to 
enjoy  the  pleasures  of  heaven  after  death— and  can  even  prepare 
one's  mind  to  experience  nirvana." 

The  Makers  of  the  Crossing 

Jainism  denies  the  authority  of  the  Vedas  and  the  orthodox 
traditions  of  Hinduism.  Therefore  it  is  reckoned  as  a  heterodox 
Indian  religion.  It  does  not  derive  from  Brahman-Aryan  sources. 
but  reflects  the  cosmology  and  anthropology  of  a  much  older, 
pre-Aryan  upper  class  of  northeastern  India— being  rooted  in 
the  same  subsoil  of  archaic  metaphysical  speculation  as  Yoga, 
SSnkhya,  and  Buddhism,  the  other  non-Vedic  Indian  systems." 

84  Cf.  supra,  p.  60,  Editor's  note,  and  Appendix  B.  Yoga,  Sankhya,  and 
Buddhism  will  be  discussed  infra,  Chapters  II  and  IV. 


The  Aryan  invasion,  which  overwhelmed  the  northwestern  and 
north  central  provinces  of  the  sub-continent  in  the  second  mil- 
lennium B.C.,  did  not  extend  the  full  weight  of  its  impact  be- 
yond the  middle  of  die  Ganges  valley;  the  pre-Aryan  nobility  of 
the  northeastern  states,  therefore,  were  not  all  swept  off  their 
thrones.  Many  of  the  families  survived,  and  when  the  dynasties 
of  the  invading  race  began  to  show  symptoms  of  exhaustion,  the 
scions  of  these  earlier  native  lines  were  able  to  assert  themselves 

Candragupta  Maurya,  for  example,"  stemmed  from  a  family 
of  this  kind.  So  did  the  Buddha.  Iksvaku,  the  mythical  ancestor 
of  the  legendary  Solar  Dynasty  to  which  Rama,  hero  of  the 
Ramayana,  belonged,  has  a  name  that  points  rather  to  the  trop- 
ical plant-world  of  India  than  to  the  steppes  from  which  the 
conquerors  descended:  iksvaku  means  "sugar  cane,"  and  sug- 
gests a  background  of  aboriginal  plam-totemism.  Even  Kysria, 
the  divine  incarnation  celebrated  in  the  Mahabharala,  whose 
synthesis  of  Aryan  and  pie-Aryan  teachings  is  epitomized  in  the 
Bhagavad  Glta,™  was  born  not  of  a  Brahman  but  of  a  Ksatriya 
line— the  Hari  clan— the  associations  of  which  are  far  from  or- 
thodox. Krsna's  religion  comprises  many  elements  that  were  not 
originally  constituents  of  the  Vedic  system  of  thought;  and  in 
the  celebrated  legend  of  his  lifting  Mount  Govardhan  he  is  actu- 
ally represented  as  challenging  India,  the  Vedic-Aryan  king  of 
the  gods,  and  even  putting  him  to  shame.37  Moreover,  Krsna's  fa- 
ther, Vasudeva,  was  the  brother  of  the  father  of  the  twenty- 
second  of  the  Jaina  Tlrthankaras,  the  Ix>rd  Aristanemi,  and  so 
must  have  been  a  recent  convert  to  the  orthodox  community. 

As  we  shall  see  in  the  following  chapters,  the  history  of  In- 
dian philosophy  has  been  characterized  largely  by  a  series  of 

85  Cf.  supra,  p.  37. 
88  Discussed  infra,  pp.  378-409. 

11  Cf.  Sister  Nivedita  and  Ananda  K.  Cooroaraswamy,  Myths  of  the 
Hindus  and  Buddhists,  New  York,  1914,  pp.  230-232. 


crises  ol  interaction  between  the  invasive  Vedic-Aryan  and  the 
non-Aryan,  earlier,  Dravidian  styles  ol  thought  and  spiritual 
experience.  The  Brihmans  were  the  principal  representatives 
of  the  former,  while  the  latter  was  preserved,  and  finally  re- 
asserted, by  the  surviving  princely  houses  of  the  native  Indian, 
dark-skinned,  pre-Aryan  population.  Since  Jainism  retains  the 
Dravidian  structure  more  purely  than  the  other  major  Indian 
traditions— and  is  consequently  a  relatively  simple,  unsophis- 
ticated, clean-cut,  and  direct  manifestation  of  the  pessimistic 
dualism  that  underlies  not  only  Satikhya,  Yoga,  and  early  Bud- 
dhistic thought,  but  also  much  of  the  reasoning  of  the  Upani- 
sads,  and  even  the  so-called  "nondualism"  of  the  Vedanta— we 
shall  treat  it  first,  in  the  present  chapter,  and  then  proceed,  in 
Chapter  II,  to  the  closely  kindred  Sarikhya  and  Yoga.  Chapter 
III  will  be  devoted  to  the  majestic  Brahman  development, 
which  constitutes  the  main  line  of  Indian  orthodoxy  and  is  the 
backbone  of  Indian  life  and  learning,  while  Buddhism  will  be 
discussed  in  Chapter  IV— first  as  a  vigorous  and  devastating  pro- 
test against  the  supremacy  of  the  Brahmans,  but  in  the  end  as  a 
teaching  not  radically  different  from  that  of  the  orthodox  Brah- 
man schools.  Finally,  in  Chapter  V,  we  shall  introduce  and 
briefly  review  the  subject  of  Tantra:  an  extraordinarily  sophis- 
ticated psychological  application  of  the  principles  of  the  Aryan- 
Dravidian  synthesis,  which  shaped  both  the  Buddhist  and  the 
Brahman  philosophies  and  practices  of  the  medieval  period,  and 
to  this  day  inspires  not  only  the  whole  texture  of  the  religious 
life  of  India  but  also  much  of  the  popular  and  esoteric  teaching 
of  the  great  Buddhist  nations,  Tibet,  China,  Korea,  and  Japan. 
To  return,  however,  to  the  Tlrthankaras:  as  already  stated, 
they  represent,  in  the  most  vivid  manner  possible,  the  life-searing 
victory  of  the  transcendent  principle  over  the  forces  of  the  flesh. 
ParSva  and  those  other  colossi  whose  towering  forms,  carved  in 
alabaster,  point  like  arrows  to  the  heavens,  broke  free  from  the 
spheres  of  human  fear  and  desire  to  pass  to  a  realm  remote  from 


the  conditions,  the  victories,  and  the  vicissitudes  of  time.  Stand- 
ing in  their  posture  oi'  "dismissing  the  body,"  or  seated  in  the 
inturned  "lotus  posture"  of  the  concentrated  yogi,  they  repre- 
sent an  ideal  very  different  indeed  from  that  of  the  roaring, 
world-affirmative,  Vedic  "Dying  round  the  Holy  Power."  *" 

Twenty-two  of  these  life-negating  Jaina  Tirthankaras  belong 
to  the  ancient,  semi-mythical  Solar  Dynasty,  from  which  the 
Hindu  savior  Rama  is  supposed  to  have  descended  and  which 
is  far  from  Aryan  in  its  backgrounds,  while  the  other  two  be- 
long to  the  Hari  clan,  the  family  of  the  blue-black  popular  hero 
Krsna.  All  of  these  figures,  Krsna  and  Rama  as  well  as  the 
Tirthankaras,  represent  the  resurgence  of  a  world  view  totally 
different  from  that  of  the  triumphant  cattle-herders  and  warlike 
horsemen  who  had  entered  India  from  the  trans-Himalayan 
plains  and  whose  way  of  life  had  swept  all  before  it  for  nearly 
a  thousand  years.  The  Vcdas,  like  the  hymns  of  the  Homeric 
Greeks,  were  the  productions  of  a  consciousness  dedicated  to 
the  spheres  of  action,  whereas  the  figures  of  the  Tirthankaras 
stand  as  the  most  vivid  expressions  in  all  art  of  the  ideal  of  the 
world-negating,  absolute  refusal  of  life's  lure.  Here  is  no  bend- 
ing of  the  cosmic  forces  to  the  will  of  man,  but  on  the  contrary, 
a  relentless  shelling  off  of  cosmic  forces,  whether  those  of  the 
external  universe,  or  those  that  pulse  in  the  running  of  the 

Parsva,  the  twenty-third  Tlrthaiikara,  is  the  first  of  the  long 
series  whom  we  can  fairly  visualize  in  a  historical  setting; 
Aristancmi,  the  one  just  before  him,  whose  brother,  Vasudcva, 
was  the  father  of  the  popular  Hindu  savior  Krsna,  is  only  very 
dimly  perceptible.  And  yet,  even  in  the  biography  of  Parsva  the 
element  of  legend  is  so  strong  that  one  can  scarcely  sense  an 
actually  living,  breathing  human  being.  The  situation  is  dif- 
ferent, however,  in  the  case  of  the  last  Tlrthankara,  Vardha- 
mana  MahavJra;  for  he  lived  and  taught  in  the  comparatively 
t8  Cf.  supra,  pp.  66-74. 



well-documented  period  ol  ihe  Huddba.  We  can  readily  visual- 
ize him  moving  among  the  numerous  monks  and  teachers  of 
that  age  o£  intellectual  ferment.  Reflections  of  his  presence  and 
influence  can  be  caught  from  the  Buddhist  as  well  as  from  the 
Jaina  texts. 

Like  all  the  earlier  Tfrthankaras,  and  like  his  contemporary 
the  Buddha,  Mahavira  was  of  non-Aryan  stock,  not  related  even 
remotely  to  those  semi-divine  seers,  sages,  singers,  and  wizards 
who  were  the  ancestors  of  the  Brahman  families  and  the  source 
of  the  wisdom  of  the  orthodox  Vedic  tradition.  He  was  a  Ksa- 
triya  of  the  Jiiaia  clan  (hence  called  Jnata-putra,  "a  son  of 
Jnata"),  lxirn  in  Kundagrama  a"  (kuyda,  "a  hole  in  the  ground  for 
keeping  water";  grama,  "a  village"),  which  was  a  suburb  of  the 
nourishing  city  of  Vaisali  (modern  Basarh,  some  twenty-seven 
miles  north  of  Pama,  in  the  northeastern  province  of  Bihar),  and 
his  parents,  Siddhartha  and  Trisala,  were  pious  Jainas  before 
him,  worshipers  of  the  Lord  Parsva.  Mahavira  was  their  second 
son;  and  they  named  him  Vardhamana,  "Growing,  Increasing." 
He  married,  in  due  time,  a  young  woman  of  their  choice,  Yasoda, 
and  had  by  her  a  daughter,  Anojja.  When  his  parents  died  in  his 
thirtieth  year,  and  his  elder  brother,  Nandivardhana.  succeeded 
in  the  direction  of  the  household,  Vardhamana  asked  and  re- 
ceived the  permission  of  his  brother  to  carry  out  his  long-cher- 
ished resolve  to  become  a  Jaina  monk.  The  monastic  authorities 
also  favored  his  request,  and  he  joined  the  Order  with  the  usual 
Jaina  rites.  Then  followed  twelve  years  of  severe  self-mortifica- 
tion. After  the  first  thirteen  months  he  discarded  his  clothes, 
and  at  the  end  of  a  long  ordeal  achieved  the  state  of  "isolation- 
integration"  (kevnla),  which  implies  omniscience  and  release 
from  earthly  bondage— corresponding  to  the  "enlightenment" 
(bodhi)  of  the  Buddhas.  And  he  lived  on  earth  forty-two  years 

"A  town  ruled  by  northeast  Indian  feudal  chieftains,  known  also  from 
early  Buddhist  records  of  the  Buddha's  itinerary  (cf.  Maha-pai iuibbdna-mt- 



more,  preaching  the  doctrine  generally  and  instructing  his  eleven 
principal  disciples— the  so-called  ganadharas,  "keepers  of  the 
hosts  (of  the  followers)."  When  he  died  at  Pava,  attaining  thus  the 
final  release  {nirvana),  he  was  in  the  seventy-second  year  of  his 
age.  The  date  is  placed  by  the  Svetambara  sect  (as  the  begin- 
ning of  their  era)  in  527  B.C.,  by  the  Digambaras  in  509,  and  by 
the  modern  Western  scholars  (since  Mahavira  passed  away  only 
a  few  years  before  the  Buddha)  about  480. 4n 

A  dialogue  recorded  in  the  sacred  writings  of  the  Svetambara 
sect41  states  that  in  essence  the  teachings  of  ParsVa  and  Maha- 
vira are  the  same.  Kesi,  an  adherent  of  Parsva,  is  shown  asking 
questions  of  Sudharma-Gautama,  one  of  the  followers  of  the 
newer  teacher,  Mahavira;  and  10  all  his  questions  he  receives 
what  seem  to  him  to  be  the  wrong  answers.  He  therefore  presses 
his  argument.  "According  to  Parsvanaiha  the  Great  Vows  are 
but  four  in  number;  why  then,"  he  demands,  "did  Vardhamana 
speak  of  them  as  five?"  To  which  Gautama  replies:  "Parsvanatha 
understood  the  spirit  of  the  time  and  realized  that  the  enumera- 
tion of  the  Great  Vows  as  four  would  suit  the  people  of  his  age; 
Mahavira  gave  the  same  four  vows  as  five  in  order  to  make  the 
Jaina  doctrine  more  acceptable  to  the  people  of  his  time.  There 
is  no  essential  difference  in  the  teachings  of  the  two  Tlrthan- 

The  fifth  vow,  which  Kc.4i,  the  adherent  of  the  teaching  of 
ParsVa,  was  calling  into  question,  was  the  one  about  the  clothes, 
and  is  what  led  to  the  schism;  for  it  involved  a  number  of  revi- 
sions of  attitude  and  conduct.  The  conservatives  not  only  in- 
sisted on  remaining  sky-clad,  but  also  rejected  all  the  other 
reforms  of  Mahavira.  Women,  for  example,  were  permitted  by 

40 This  biography  is  based  upon,  and  follows  closely,  the  account  given 
by  Jacob!,  "Jainism,"  in  Hastings,  Encyclopaedia  of  Religion  and  Ethics, 
Vol.  VII.  pp.  466-467. 

41  Uttaradkyayana  Sutra  2%   (Sacred  Rooks  of  the  East,  Vol.  XLV,  pp. 
1  igff)-  The  authenticity  of  this  text  is  denied  by  the  Digambaras. 


Mahavira  to  take  ascetic  vows,  whereas  by  the  sky-clad  sect  they 
were  debarred  from  doing  so,  having  to  wait  for  a  later,  mascu- 
line incarnation.  Nevertheless,  it  is  certain  that  Mahavira 
preached  nothing  absolutely  new;  he  only  modified  and  de- 
veloped what  had  already  been  taught  by  Parsvanatha— and  no 
doubt  by  numerous  even  earlier  saints  and  sages.42 

The  writings  of  the  Jainas  mention  as  contemporaries  of 
Mahavira  the  same  kings  of  northeastern  India  as  those  who 
according  to  Buddhist  sources  reigned  during  the  Buddha's  ca- 
reer. The  canonical  texts  of  the  Buddhists,  dating  from  the  first 
centuries  B.C.,  mention  the  Jaina  frequently  under  their  old 
name  of  Nirgrantha,4*  "without  knot,  tie,  or  string,"  i.e.,  "the 
unfettered  ones";  and  refer  to  them  as  a  rival  sect,  but  nowhere 
as  one  newly  founded.  Their  leader  is  called  Jnataputra  Var- 
dhamana ("Vardhamana,  son  of  the  Jnata  clan"),  Mahavira  (the 
"Great  Hero"),  and  Jina  (the  "Victor"),  and,  in  contrast  to  the 
Buddha,  is  never  described  as  having  first  become  a  disciple  of 

*2  Editofs  note:  The  reader  may  experience  some  difficulty  in  following 
Dr.  Zimmer's  argument,  since  in  the  text  to  which  he  refers  (Uttaradhya- 
yana  Sutra  23.  29)  the  statement  about  the  clothes  is  precisely  the  reverse 
of  what  he  would  lead  one  to  expect.  "The  law  taught  by  Vardhamana," 
we  read,  "forbids  clothes,  but  that  of  the  great  sage  Parsva  allows  an 
under  and  upper  garment."  I  confess  that  I  do  not  know  how  Dr.  Zimmer 
planned  to  deal  with  this  inconsistency;  for  he  left  no  pertinent  notes, 
and  I  do  not  recall  his  having  discussed  the  point.  His  manuscript  for 
tliis  portion  of  his  history  of  Jainism  is  incomplete.  However,  since  he 
stresses  the  fact  that  "the  authenticity  of  this  text  is  denied  by  the  Digam- 
baras"  (footnote  supra),  it  may  be  that  he  intended  to  suggest  that  the 
Svetambaras  inverted  the  historical  situation  to  give  to  their  own  customs 
the  prestige  of  the  earlier  master.  This  would  make  the  Digambaras  seem 
to  be  the  followers  of  a  later  and  merely  temporary  ruling,  whereas  it 
was  the  contention  of  the  Digambaras  that  the  Svetambaras  represented 
the  later  form.  As  noted  above  (p.  210,  Editor's  note),  Dr.  Zimmer  adheres 
to  the  Digambara  version  of  the  historical  sequence  of  the  sky-clad  and 
the  white-clad  modes. 

4*Ntrgrantha  is  Sanskrit;  the  Pali  word,  in  the  Buddhist  texts,  is 



teachers  whose  doctrines  failed  to  satisfy  him.  Mahavira  re- 
mained faithful  to  the  tradition  into  which  he  had  been  born 
and  which  he  embraced  fully  when  he  became  a  Jaina  monk. 
By  attaining  to  the  highest  goal  envisioned  in  this  tradition— 
a  very  rare  achievement— he  did  not  refute  it,  but  only  gained 
new  fame  for  the  ancient  way. 

Again  in  contrast  to  the  Buddha,  Mahavira  is  never  declared 
to  have  received  through  his  enlightenment  the  understanding 
of  any  new  philosophical  principle  or  any  special  insight  not 
already  familiar  to  his  period.  He  was  not  the  founder  of  a  new 
ascetic  community  but  the  reformer  of  an  old  one.  He  was  not 
the  teacher  of  a  new  doctrine,  but  is  represented  as  having 
gained  at  the  time  of  his  illumination  the  perfect  knowledge  ol 
something  which  both  he  and  his  community  had  known  before 
only  imperfectly  and  in  part.  He  simply  entered  an  existing, 
time-honored  order  and  some  twelve  years  later  attained  fulfill- 
ment. Thus  he  realized  to  the  full  extent  what  had  been  prom- 
ised—what his  tradition  had  always  indicated  as  the  ultimate 
reference  of  its  sacred,  complex,  and  most  detailed  system  of 
representing  the  nature  of  man  and  the  universe. 

The  Buddhist  historical  records,  then,  would  seem  to  sup- 
port the  traditional  Jaina  representation  of  Mahavira  as  the  last 
—not  the  first,  as  Western  scholars  until  recently  have  insisted— 
of  the  Jaina  '"Giossing-Makcrs  through  the  torrent  of  rebirth  to 
the  yonder  shore."  And  there  is  good  reason,  as  we  have  seen,  to 
concede  that  the  Crossing-Maker  just  preceding  him,  Parsva- 
natha,  may  also  have  been  an  actual  historical  personage.  But 
before  Pars*vanatha  stands  Aristanemi  (or  Neminatha),  the 
twenty-second  Tirtharikara  of  the  present  so-called  "descending" 
(avasarpirii)  phase  of  the  universal  cycle  of  cosmic  time,44  whose 

4*  The  cycle  of  time  continually  revolves,  according  to  the  Jainas.  The 
present  "descending"    (avasaTpini)  period  was  preceded  and  will  be  fol- 
lowed by  an  "ascending"  (utsarpint).  Sarpini  suggests  the  creeping  move- 
ment of  a  "serpent"  (mipin);  ava-  means  "down"  and  ut-  means  "up."  The 


distinguishing  emblem  is  the  Hindu  battle-trumpet,  the  concti- 
shell,  and  whose  iconographic  color  is  black."  His  existence  is 
not  substantiated  through  historical  records,  but  only  reflected 
through  legendary  accounts,  which  link  him  with  the  heroes  of 
that  feudal  period  of  Indo-Aryan  chivalry  depicted  in  the 
Mahabharata  and  the  Krsna  legend.  He  is  described  as  a  first 
cousin  of  Krsna;  his  father,  Samudravijaya  ("Conqueror  of  the 
Whole  Earth,  as  far  as  to  the  Shores  of  the  Oceans"),  having  been 
I  he  brother  of  Krsna's  father,  Vasudeva.  Since  he  is  heterodox,4" 
he  is  ignored  by  the  Hindu  Krsna  cycle,  which,  in  spite  of  its 
own  heterodox  traits,  has  become  incorporated  in  the  great 
body  of  orthodox  legend;  but  the  Tainas  claim  that  Neminatha 
was  far  superior  to  Krsna  both  in  physical  prowess  and  in  in- 
tellectual attainments.  His  unostentatious,  mild  disposition,  as 
well  as  his  rejection  of  luxury  and  adoption  of  the  ascetic  life, 
are  depicted  in  such  a  way  as  to  show  him  to  have  been  exactly 
the  reverse  of  Krsna.  His  full  name,  Aristanemi,  is  an  epithet  of 
the  sun-wheel  or  the  sun-chariot,  "the  felly  of  whose  wheel 
(nemi)  is  undamaged  (arista),  i.e.  indestructible,"  and  thus  sug- 
gests that  he  belonged  to  the  ancient  Solar  Dynasty.47 

With  this  Ttrthankara,  Jaina  tradition  breaks  beyond  the 
bounds  of  recorded  history  into  the  reaches  of  the  mythological 
past.  And  yet  it  does  not  follow  that  the  historian  would  be 
justified  in  saying  that  some  great  renewer  and  teacher  of  the 
Jaina  faith— perhaps  named  Aristanemi— did  not  precede  Pari- 
vanStha.  We  are  simply  not  in  a  position  to  know  how  far  back 

serpent-cycle  of  time  (the  world-bounding  serpent,  biting  its  own  tail) 
will  go  on  revolving  through  these  alternating  "ascending"  and  "descending" 
periods  forever. 

«8Just  as  each  of  the  identical  Tirthankaras  has  a  distinguishing  em- 
blem (cf.  supra,  p.  313),  so  also  a  color.  That  of  Mahavira,  whose  animal 
is  the  lion,  is  golden;  that  of  Parsvanatha,  blue  (cf.  Jacobi,  he.  cit.,  p.  46G). 

40  Cf.  supra,  p.  60,  Editor's  note. 

47  Cf.  supra,  p.  106. 



the  imagination  should  be  permitted  to  go  in  following  the  line 
of  the  TTrthankaras.  Obviously,  however,  the  dates  assigned  by 
Jaina  tradition  have  to  be  rejected  once  we  pass  beyond 
ParsVanatha;  for  Aristanemi  is  said  to  have  lived  eighty-four 
thousand  years  before  ParsVanatha,  which  would  place  us  back 
somewhere  in  the  Lower  Paleolithic,  while  the  preceding  Tir- 
thaiikara,  Nami  (whose  emblem  is  the  blue  lotus  and  whose 
color  is  golden),  is  supposed  to  have  died  fifty  thousand  years 
before  Aristanemi— back,  that  is  to  say,  in  the  Eolithic;  Suvrata, 
the  twentieth  (whose  animal  is  the  tortoise  and  whose  color  is 
black),  is  dated  eleven  hundred  thousand  years  before  that. 
With  Malli,  the  nineteenth  (whose  emblem  is  the  jar  and  whose 
color  is  blue)  we  pass  well  into  the  pre-human  geologic  ages, 
while  Ara,  Kunthu,  Sand,  Dharma,  Ananta,  Vimala,  etc.,  trans- 
port us  beyond  the  reaches  even  of  geological  calculation. 

The  long  series  of  these  semi- mythological  saviors,  stretching 
back,  period  beyond  period,  each  illuminating  the  world  ac- 
cording to  the  requirements  of  the  age  yet  in  strict  adherence 
to  the  one  doctrine,  points  to  the  belief  that  the  Jaina  religion 
is  eternal.  Again  and  again  it  has  been  revealed  and  refreshed, 
in  each  of  the  endlessly  successive  ages,  not  merely  by  the 
twenty-four  TTrthankaras  of  the  present  "descending"  series, 
but  by  an  endless  number,  world  without  end.  The  length  of 
life  and  the  stature  of  the  Tirthankaras  themselves  in  the  most 
favorable  phases  of  the  ever-revolving  cycles  (the  first  periods 
of  the  descending  and  the  last  of  the  ascending  series)  are  fabu- 
lously great;  for  in  the  good  old  days  the  bodily  size  and 
strength  as  well  as  the  virtue  of  mankind  far  exceeded  anything 
that  we  know  today.  That  is  why  the  images  of  the  Tirtharikaras 
are  colossal.  The  dwarfish  proportions  of  the  men  and  heroes 
of  the  inferior  ages  are  the  result  and  reflex  of  a  diminution  of 
moral  stamina.  Today  we  are  no  longer  giants;  indeed,  we  are 
so  small,  both  physically  and  spiritually,  that  the  religion  of  the 
Jainas  has  become  too  difficult,  and  there  will  be  no  more 



Tirtharikaras  in  the  present  cycle.  Moreover,  as  time  moves  on 
to  the  conclusion  of  our  present  descending  age,  the  scale  ol 
humanity  will  decline  still  further,  the  religion  of  the  Jainas 
will  disappear,  and  the  earth,  finally,  will  be  an  unspeakable 
morass  of  violence,  bestiality,  and  grief. 

This  is  a  philosophy  of  the  profoundest  pessimism.  The  round 
of  rebirths  in  the  world  is  endless,  full  of  suffering,  and  of  no 
avail.  Of  and  in  itself  it  can  yield  no  release,  no  divine  redeem- 
ing grace;  the  very  gods  are  subject  to  its  deluding  spell.  There- 
fore, ascent  to  heaven  is  no  less  a  mere  phase  or  stage  of  delu- 
sion than  descent  to  the  purgatorial  hells.  As  a  result  of 
meritorious  conduct,  one  is  reborn  a  god  among  the  gods;  as  a 
result  of  evil  conduct,  a  being  among  the  beings  of  hell  or  an 
animal  among  the  beasts;  but  there  is  no  escape,  either  way, 
from  this  perennial  circulation.  One  will  continue  to  revolve 
forever  through  the  various  spheres  of  inconsequential  pleas- 
ures and  unbearable  pains  unless  one  can  manage  somehow  to 
release  oneself.  But  this  can  be  accomplished  only  by  heroic 
effort— a  long,  really  dreadful  ordeal  of  austerities  and  progres- 
sive self-abnegation. 

The  Qualities  of  Matter 

According  to  Jaina  cosmology,  the  universe  is  a  living  or- 
ganism, made  animate  throughout  by  life-monads  which  cir- 
culate through  its  limbs  and  spheres;  and  this  organism  will 
never  die.  We  ourselves,  furthermore— i.e.,  the  life-monads  con- 
tained within  and  constituting  the  very  substance  of  the  imper- 



ishable  great  body— arc  imperishable  too.  We  ascend  and  de- 
scend through  various  states  ol  being,  now  human,  now  divine, 
now  animal;  the  bodies  seem  to  die  and  to  be  born,  but  the 
chain  is  continuous,  the  transformations  endless,  and  all  we  do 
is  pass  from  one  state  to  the  next.  The  manner  in  which  the 
indestructible  life-monads  circulate  is  disclosed  to  the  inward 
eye  of  the  enlightened  Jaina  saint  and  seer. 

The  life-monads  enjoying  the  highest  states  of  being,  i.e., 
those  temporarily  human  or  divine,  are  possessed  of  five  sense 
faculties,  as  well  as  of  a  thinking  faculty  (manas)  and  span  of 
life  (ay us),  physical  strength  (kaya-bala),  power  of  speech 
(vacana-bala),  and  the  power  of  respiration  (svdsocchvdsa-bala) 
In  the  classic  Indian  philosophies  of  Sarikhya,  Yoga,  and  Ve 
danta,  the  same  five  sense  faculties  appear  as  in  the  Jaina  for 
mula  (namely  touch,  smell,  taste,  hearing,  and  sight);  however, 
there  have  been  added  the  so-called  "live  faculties  of  action." 
These  begin  with  speech  (vac,  corresponding  to  the  Jaina  vacana- 
bala),  but  then  go  on  to  grasping  (pani,  the  hand),  locomotion 
(pada,  the  feet),  evacuation  (payu,  the  anus),  and  reproduction 
(upastlta,  the  organ  of  generation).  Manas  (the  thinking  faculty) 
is  retained,  but  is  linked  to  further  functions  of  the  psyche, 
namely  buddhi  (intuitive  intelligence)  and  ahaiikara  (ego-con- 
sciousness). Also  added  are  the  five  pranas,  or  "life  breaths."  48 
Apparently  the  Jaina  categories  represent  a  comparatively  primi- 
tive, archaic  analysis  and  description  of  human  nature,  many 
of  the  details  of  which  underlie  and  remain  incorporated  in  the 
later,  classic  Indian  view. 

"These  classic  categories  are  discussed  infra,  pp.  317-332.  In  Jainism 
the  term  prana  is  used  in  the  sense  not  of  "life  breath"  but  of  "bodily 
power,"  and  refers,  to  the  ten  faculties  above  noted.  Dr.  Ztmmer  is  sug- 
gesting that  the  analysis  of  the  psyche  that  prevailed  in  the  classic  period 
of  Indian  philosophy,  in  the  synthesis  of  the  so-called  "Six  Systems,"  was 
originally  not  a  Brahman  contribution  but  non-Aryan,  having  come  in 
through  Sankhya  and  Yoga,  and  that  its  categories  are  prefigured  in  the 
Jaina  view.  For  the  Six  Systems,  cf.  Appendix  A. 


Frogs,  fish,  and  other  animals  not  born  from  the  womb  arc 
without  a  thinking  faculty  (manas)— they  are  called,  therefore, 
a-sanjiiin  ("insensible");  whereas  elephants,  lions,  tigers,  goats, 
cows,  and  the  rest  of  the  mammals,  since  they  have  a  thinking 
faculty,  are  sanjnin.  The  various  beings  in  the  hells,  and  the 
lower  gods,  as  well  as  human  beings,  also  are  sanjnin. 

In  contrast  to  those  views  that  represent  the  soul  as  being  mi- 
nute, like  an  atom  (aim),  or  of  the  size  of  a  thumb,  and  dwelling 
in  the  heart,  Jainism  regards  the  life-monad  (jwa)  as  pervading 
the  whole  organism;  the  body  constitutes,  as  it  were,  its  garb; 
the  life-monad  is  the  body's  animating  principle.  And  the  subtle 
substance  of  this  life-monad  is  mingled  with  particles  of  karma, 
like  water  with  milk,  or  like  fire  with  iron  in  a  red-hot,  glowing 
iron  ball.  Moreover,  the  karmic  matter  communicates  colors 
(le.iya)  to  the  life-monad;  and  these  colors  are  six  in  number. 
Hence  there  are  said  to  be  six  types  of  life-monad,  in  ascending 
scries,  each  with  its  color,  smell,  taste,  and  quality  of  tangi- 
bility,''0 as  follows: 

6.  white  (sukla) 

5.  yellow,  or  rose  (padma.  like  a  lotus) 

4.  flaming  red  (tejas) 
3.  dove-grey  (kapota) 

2.  dark  blue  (nth) 
1.  black  (kysna) 

These  six  types  fall  into  three  groups  of  two,  each  pair  corre- 
sponding precisely  to  one  of  the  three  gunas,  or  "natural  quali- 
ties," of  the  classic  Sarikhya  and  Vedantic  writings.80  The  Jaina 

49 It  is  not  particularly  difficult  even  for  us  to  imagine  a  smelly  or  sour 
life-monad,  or  a  sweet  and  fragrant  one. 

B0  Editor's  note:  Here  again  Dr.  Zimmer  is  pointing  to  the  prefigurement 

in  Jainism  of  the  classic  Indian  categories.  An  extensive  discussion  of  the 

gunas  will  be  found  infra,  pp.  295-297;  the  reader  unfamiliar  with  the 

concept  would  do  well  to  return  to  the  present  paragraph  following  his 



lesyas  i  and  2  arc  dark;  they  correspond  to  the  guna  tamos, 
"darkness."  Lesya  3  is  smoky  grey  while  4  is  of  the  red  of  flame; 
both  pertain  to  (ire,  and  thus  correspond  to  the  guna  rajas  (fire  = 
rajas,  "red  color";  cf.  tanj,  "to  tinge  red";  rakta,  "red").  Lesyas  5 
and  6,  finally,  are  clear  and  luminous,  being  states  of  comparative 
purity,  and  thus  are  the  Jaina  counterparts  of  the  classic  guna 
sattva:  "virtue,  goodness,  excellence,  clarity;  ideal  being;  the  su- 
preme state  of  matter."  In  sum,  the  six  Jaina  lesyas  seem  to  rep- 
resent some  system  of  archaic  prototypes  from  which  the  basic 
elements  of  the  vastly  influential  later  theory  of  the  gunas  was 

Black  is  the  characteristic  color  of  merciless,  cruel,  raw  people, 
who  harm  and  torture  other  beings.  Dark-blue  characters  arc 
roguish  and  venal,  covetous,  greedy,  sensual,  and  fickle.  Dove- 
grey  typifies  the  reckless,  thoughtless,  uncontrolled,  and  irascible; 
whereas  the  prudent,  honest,  magnanimous,  and  devout  are  fiery 
red.  Yellow  shows  compassion,  consideration,  unselfishness,  non- 
violence, and  self-control;  while  the  white  souls  are  dispassionate, 
absolutely  disinterested,  and  impartial. 

As  water  flows  into  a  pond  through  channels,  so  karmic  matter 
of  the  six  colors  flows  into  the  monad  through  the  physical  organs. 
Sinful  atti  cause  an  "influx  of  evil  karma"  (papa-asrava),  and 
this  increases  the  dark  matter  in  the  monad;  virtuous  acts,  on 
the  other  hand,  bring  an  "influx  of  good  or  holy  karma"  (punya- 
asrava),  which  tends  to  make  the  monad  white.  But  even  this  hoi  v 

completion  of  that  section.  In  advance,  however,  it  can  be  stated  that 
according  to  the  classic  Indian  view,  matter  (prakrlt)  is  characterized 
by  the  three  qualities  (gunas)  of  inertia  (tamas),  activity  (rajas),  and  ten- 
sion or  harmony  (sattva).  These  are  not  merely  qualities,  but  the  very 
substance  of  the  matter  of  the  universe,  which  is  said  to  be  constituted  of 
the  gunas,  as  a  rope  of  three  twisted  strands— tamas  guna  being,  as  it  were, 
black,  rajas  red,  and  sattva  white.  A  predominance  of  tamas  guna  in  an 
individual's  disposition  makes  him  dull,  sluggish,  and  resentful,  rajas 
makes  him  aggressive,  heroic,  and  proud,  while  sattva  conduces  to  illumi- 
nated repose,  benignity,  and  understanding. 


karma  keeps  the  life-monad  linked  to  the  world.51  By  increasing 
the  yellow  and  white  karmic  matter,  virtuous  acts  produce  the 
gentler,  more  savory  tics— but  these  are  ties,  even  so;  they  do  not 
suffice  to  consummate  release.  "Influx"  (fisrava)  of  every  type  has 
to  be  blocked  if  nirvana  is  to  he  attained,  and  this  arrestment  of 
life  can  be  affected  only  by  abstention  from  action— all  action 
whatsoever,  whether  good  or  bad.82 

A  basic  fact  generally  disregarded  by  those  who  "go  in"  for 
Indian  wisdom  is  this  one  of  the  total  rejection  of  every  last  value 
of  humanity  by  the  Indian  teachers  and  winners  of  redemption 
from  the  bondages  of  the  world.  "Humanity"  (the  phenomenon 

61  Compare  hhagavad  GUa  14.  5-9.  "The  gunas— sattva,  rajas,  and  tamas 
— which  are  born  of  matter,  bind  the  immortal  dwcllcr-in-thc-body  fast  in 
the  body.  Sattva,  being  stainless,  is  luminous  and  of  the  nature  of  peace 
and  serenity;  it  binds  by  creating  attachment  to  happiness  and  to  knowl- 
edge. Rajas,  the  essence  of  passion,  is  the  cause  of  thirst  and  fascination; 
it  binds  the  dweller- in-the-body  by  attachment  to  action.  Tamas,  finally, 
is  born  of  ignorance,  and  bewilders  all  embodied  beings;  it  binds  by 
inadvertence,  indolence,  and  sleep.  Thus,  while  tamas  darkens  judg- 
ment and  attaches  to  miscomprehension,  rajas  attaches  to  action,  and 
sattva  to  happiness." 

02  The  Jaina  TIrthankara,  by  virtue  of  his  boundless  intuition,  or  om- 
niscience, which  is  based  on  the  crystal  purity  and  infinite  radiance  of 
the  life-monad  released  from  its  karmic  matter,  directly  perceives,  in  the 
case  of  each  and  all,  the  precise  color,  taste,  fragrance,  and  quality  of 
the  matter  infecting  the  life-monad;  he  knows  exactly  the  degree  of  pollu- 
tion, obscurity,  or  brightness  of  every  individual  that  he  sees.  For  the  lu- 
minosity of  the  monad  pervades  the  whole  organism,  and  is  thought  of  as 
emanating  even  beyond  the  strict  circumference  of  the  bodily  frame,  in 
such  a  way  as  to  form  around  it  a  subtle  halo,  invisible  to  the  average 
mortal  but  clearly  perceptible  to  the  enlightened  saint.  Here  we  have  the 
archaic  background  of  the  halo— the  "aura'  of  the  Theosophists— which  en- 
compasses every  living  form,  and  which,  through  its  shadings,  darkness, 
or  radiance,  betrays  the  status  of  the  soul,  showing  whether  one  is  steeped 
in  obscuring  animal  passions  and  bedimming  ego-propensities,  or  ad- 
vanced along  the  path  toward  purification  and  release  from  the  bondages 
of  universal  matter. 



oi  the  human  being,  the  ideal  of  its  perfection,  and  the  ideal  of 
the  perfected  human  society)  was  the  paramount  concern  of 
Greek  idealism,  as  it  is  today  of  Western  Christianity  in  its  mod- 
ern form;  but  for  the  Indian  sages  and  ascetics,  the  Mahatmas 
and  enlightened  Saviors,  "humanity"  was  no  more  than  the  shell 
to  be  pierced,  shattered,  and  dismissed.  For  perfect  non-activity, 
in  thought,  speech,  and  deed,  is  possible  only  when  one  has  be- 
come dead  to  every  concern  of  life:  dead  to  pain  and  enjoyment 
as  well  as  to  every  impulse  to  power,  dead  to  the  interests  of  in- 
tellectual pursuit,  dead  to  all  social  and  political  affairs— deeply, 
absolutely,  and  immovably  uninterested  in  one's  character  as  a 
human  being.  The  sublime  and  gentle  final  fetter,  virtue,  is  thus 
itself  something  to  be  severed.  It  cannot  be  regarded  as  the  goal, 
but  only  as  the  beginning  of  the  great  spiritual  adventure  of  the 
"Crossing-Maker,"  a  stepping  place  to  the  superhuman  sphere. 
That  sphere,  moreover,  is  not  only  superhuman  but  even  super- 
divine— beyond  the  gods,  their  heavens,  their  delights,  and  their 
cosmic  powers.  "Humanity,"  consequently,  whether  in  the  indi- 
vidual or  in  the  collective  aspect,  can  no  longer  be  of  concern  to 
anyone  seriously  striving  for  perfection  along  the  way  of  the  ulti- 
mate Indian  wisdom.  Humanity  and  its  problems  belong  to  the 
philosophies  of  life  that  we  discussed  above:  the  philosophies  of 
success  (artha),  pleasure  (kama),  and  duty  (dharma);  these  can  be 
of  no  interest  to  one  who  has  literally  died  to  time— for  whom  life 
is  death.  "Let  the  dead  bury  their  dead":63  that  is  the  thought. 
This  is  something  that  makes  it  very  difficult  for  us  of  the  mod- 
ern Christian  West  to  appreciate  and  assimilate  the  traditional 
message  of  India. 

The  sentimental  or  heroic  divinization  of  man  along  the  lines 
of  the  classic  and  modern  humanitarian  ideals  is  something  to- 
tally foreign  to  the  Indian  mind.  From  the  Indian  point  of  view, 
the  special  dignity  of  the  human  being  consists  solely  in  the  fact 
that  he  is  capable  of  becoming  enlightened,  free  from  bondage, 
"Matthew  8: 22. 



and  therewith  competent,  ultimately,  for  the  role  of  the  supreme 
teacher  and  savior  of  all  beings,  including  the  beasts  and  the  gods. 
The  life-monad  mature  enough  for  this  super-godly  task  descends 
to  earth  from  the  high  realm  of  heavenly  beatitude,  as  did  the 
monad  of  the  Jaina  Savior,  Parsvanatha,"  the  temporary  delights 
and  powers  of  the  gods  having  become  meaningless  for  his  ripened 
insight.  And  then,  in  a  final  existence  among  men,  the  savior 
himself  achieves  perfect  enlightenment  and  therewith  release, 
and  by  his  teaching  renews  the  timeless  doctrine  of  the  way  to 
reach  this  goal. 

This  amazing  ideal,  expressed  in  the  legendary  biographies  of 
the  Buddhas  and  Tirtharikaras,  was  taken  seriously  and  literally 
as  an  ideal  for  all.  It  was  actually  regarded  as  open  to  man,  and 
steps  were  taken  to  realize  it.  Apparently,  it  was  a  non-Brahman, 
pre-Aryan  vision  of  man's  role  in  the  cosmos  native  to  the  Indian 
sub-continent.  The  way  of  perfectibility  taught  was  that  of  yogic 
asceticism  and  self-abnegation,  while  the  image  constantly  held 
before  the  mind's  eye  was  that  of  the  human  savior  as  the  re- 
deemer even  of  the  gods. 

In  the  West  such  thinking  has  been  suppressed  systematically 
as  heresy— a  heresy  of  titanism.  Already  for  the  Greeks,  it  was  the 
classic  fault  of  the  suffering  hero,  the  v$qv;  of  the  anti-gods  or 
titans,  while  in  the  Christian  Church  such  presumption  has  been 
mocked  as  simply  incredible.68  Nevertheless,  in  our  modern  West- 
ern Christian  poetry  there  can  be  pointed  out  at  least  one  great 
instance  of  the  idea  of  the  coming  of  a  human  being  to  the  rescue 
of  God.  For  when  Parsifal,  in  the  third  act  of  Wagner's  opera, 
brings  back  the  holy  spear,  cures  Amfortas,  the  sick  guardian  of 
the  holy  grail,  and  restores  the  grail  itself  to  its  beneficent  func- 

*•  Supra,  pp.  i94-»95- 

nB  See,  for  example,  the  accounts  of  Simon  Magus  given  by  Justin 
Martyr  (Dial,  cum  Tryph.  cxx.  16),  Tertullian  (De  Idol.  9,  de  Fuga,  12, 
de  Anima,  34,  Apol.  13),  and  Origen  (C.  Celsum,  i.  57.  vi.  11),  or  any 
modern  Christian  missionary's  account  of  Indian  belief. 


tion,  the  voices  of  the  angels  sing  out  from  on  high:  "Redemption 
to  the  Redeemer."  The  sacred  blood  of  Christ,  that  is  to  say,  has 
been  redeemed  from  the  curse  or  spell  that  was  nullifying  its 
operation.  And  again,  in  Wagner's  cycle  of  the  Ring  of  the  Ni- 
belung,  a  pagan  parallel  to  this  motif  is  developed  in  almost  iden- 
tical terms.  Briinnhilde  quiets  Wotan's  sufferings,  putting  to  rest 
the  All-Father  of  the  universe,  when  she  returns  the  Ring  to  the 
primeval  waters  and  sings  to  Wotan:  "Rithe  nun,  ruhe,  du  Gott!" 
—"Rest  now,  rest,  thou  God!"  The  enlightened  individual,  per- 
fected through  suffering,  all-knowing  through  compassion,  self- 
detached  through  having  conquered  ego,  redeems  the  divine  prin- 
ciple, which  is  incapable,  alone,  of  disengaging  itself  from  its 
own  fascination  with  lite  cosmic  play/'6 


The  Mask  of  the  Personality 

Ulysses,  in  the  Homeric  epic,  descended  to  the  netherworld 
to  seek  counsel  of  the  departed,  and  there  found,  in  the  murky 
twilight  land  of  Pluto  and  Persephone,  the  shades  of  his  former 
companions  and  friends  who  had  been  killed  at  the  siege  of  Troy 
or  had  passed  away  during  the  years  following  the  conquest  of 
the  town.  They  were  but  shadows  in  that  dim  realm;  yet  each 
could  be  recognized  immediately,  for  all  preserved  the  features 
that  had  been  theirs  on  earth.  Achilles  declared  that  he  would 
prefer  the  hard  and  joyless  life  of  an  obscure  peasant  in  the  broad 
daylight  of  the  living  to  the  melancholy  monotony  of  his  present 
68  Cf.  Zimmer,  The  King  and  the  Corpse,  pp.  51-52. 


half-existence  as  the  greatest  of  the  heroes  among  the  dead;  never- 
theless, he  was  still  perfectly  himself.  The  physiognomy,  the  mask 
of  the  personality,  had  survived  the  separation  from  the  body  and 
the  long  exile  from  the  human  sphere  on  the  surface  of  the  land. 
Nowhere  in  the  Greek  epic  do  we  find  the  idea  of  the  dead 
hero  being  divested  of  his  identity  with  his  former,  temporal 
being.  The  possibility  ol  losing  one's  personality  through  death, 
the  slow  dissolution,  melting  away,  and  final  fading  out  of  the 
historic  individuality,  was  something  not  considered  by  the 
Greeks  of  Homer's  time.  Nor  did  it  dawn  on  the  medieval  Chris- 
tian mind.  Dante,  like  Ulysses,  was  a  wayfarer  in  the  world  be- 
yond the  grave;  conducted  by  Virgil  through  the  circles  of  hell 
and  purgatory,  he  ascended  to  the  spheres;  and  everywhere, 
throughout  the  length  of  his  journey,  he  beheld  and  conversed 
with  personal  friends  and  enemies,  mythical  heroes,  and  the  great 
figures  of  history.  All  were  recognizable  immediately,  and  all 
satisfied  his  insatiable  curiosity  by  recounting  their  biographies, 
dwelling  at  great  length,  in  spun-out  tales  and  arguments,  upon 
the  minute  details  of  (heir  trifling,  short-lived  individual  exist- 
ences. Their  personalities  of  yore  seem  to  have  been  only  too  well 
preserved  through  the  long  wandering  in  the  vastness  of  eternity. 
Though  definitely  and  forever  severed  from  the  brief  moments 
of  their  lifetimes  on  earth,  they  were  still  preoccupied  with  the 
problems  and  vexations  of  their  biographies  and  haunted  by  their 
guilt,  which  clung  to  them  in  the  symbolic  forms  of  their  pecul- 
iar punishments.  Personality  held  all  in  its  clutches— the  glorified 
saints  in  heaven  as  well  as  the  tortured,  suffering  inmates  of  hell; 
for  personality,  according  to  the  medieval  Christians,  was  not  to 
be  lost  in  death,  or  purged  away  by  the  after-death  experiences. 
Rather,  life  beyond  the  grave  was  to  be  but  a  second  manifesta- 
tion and  experience  of  the  very  essence  of  the  personality,  only 
realized  on  a  broader  scale  and  in  a  freer  style,  and  with  a  more 
striking  display  of  the  nature  and  implications  of  the  virtues  and 
the  vices. 



For  the  Western  mind,  the  personality  is  eternal.  It  is  inde- 
structible, not  to  be  dissolved.  This  is  the  basic  idea  in  the  Chris- 
tian doctrine  of  the  resurrection  of  the  body,  the  resurrection 
being  our  regaining  of  our  cherished  personality  in  a  purified 
form,  worthy  to  fare  before  the  majesty  of  the  Almighty.  That 
personality  is  thought  to  go  on  forever— even  though,  by  a  curi- 
ous inconsistency,  it  is  not  believed  to  have  existed  anywhere,  in 
any  state  or  form,  previous  to  the  carnal  birth  ol  the  mortal  in- 
dividual. The  personality  did  not  exist  in  extra-human  spheres, 
from  all  eternity,  before  its  temporal  earthly  manifestation.  It  is 
declared  to  have  come  into  being  with  the  mortal  act  of  pro- 
creation, and  yet  is  supposed  to  go  on  alter  the  demise  of  the 
procreated  mortal  frame:  temporal  in  its  beginning,  immortal 
in  its  end. 

The  term  "personality"  is  derived  from  the  Latin  persona. 
Persona,  literally,  means  the  mask  that  is  worn  over  the  face  by 
the  actor  on  the  Greek  or  Roman  stage;  the  mask  "through" 
(per)  which  he  "sounds"  (sonat)  his  part.  The  mask  is  what  bears 
the  features  or  make-up  of  the  role,  the  traits  of  hero  or  heroine, 
servant  or  messenger,  while  the  actor  himself  behind  it  remains 
anonymous,  an  unknown  being  intrinsically  aloof  from  the  play, 
constitutionally  unconcerned  with  the  enacted  sufferings  and  pas- 
sions. Originally,  the  term  persona  in  the  sense  of  "personality" 
must  have  implied  that  people  are  only  impersonating  what  they 
seem  to  be.  The  word  connotes  that  the  personality  is  but  die 
mask  of  one's  part  in  the  comedy  or  tragedy  of  life  and  not  to  be 
identified  with  the  actor.  It  is  not  a  manifestation  of  his  true 
nature,  but  a  veil.  And  yet  the  Western  outlook— which  origi- 
nated with  the  Greeks  themselves  and  was  then  developed  in 
Christian  philosophy— has  annulled  the  distinction,  implied  in 
the  term,  between  the  mask  and  the  actor  whose  face  it  hides. 
The  two  have  become,  as  it  were,  identical.  When  the  play  is 
over  the  persona  cannot  be  taken  off;  it  clings  through  death  and 
into  the  life  beyond.  The  Occidental  actor,  having  wholly  iden- 


tified  himself  with  the  enacted  personality  during  his  moment  on 
the  stage  of  the  world,  is  unable  to  take  it  off  when  the  time  comes 
for  departure,  and  so  keeps  it  on  indefinitely,  for  millenniums- 
even  eternities— after  the  play  is  over.  To  lose  his  persona  would 
mean  for  him  to  lose  every  hope  for  a  future  beyond  death.  The 
mask  has  become  for  him  fused,  and  confused,  with  his  essence. 

Indian  philosophy,  on  the  oilier  hand,  insists  upon  the  differ- 
ence, stressing  the  distinction  between  the  actor  and  the  role.  It 
continually  emphasizes  the  contrast  between  the  displayed  exist- 
ence of  the  individual  and  the  teal  being  of  the  anonymous  actor, 
concealed,  shrouded,  and  veiled  in  the  costumes  of  the  play.  In- 
deed, one  of  the  dominant  endeavors  ol  Indian  thought  through- 
out the  ages  has  been  to  develop  a  dependable  technique  for 
keeping  the  line  clear  between  the  two.  A  meticulous  denning  of 
their  interrelationships  and  their  modes  oE  collaboration,  as 
well  as  a  practical,  systematic,  and  courageously  enforced  effort  to 
break  from  the  confines  of  the  one  into  the  unfathomed  reaches 
of  the  other,  has  been  carried  on  for  ages— primarily  through  the 
numerous  introspective  processes  of  yoga.  Piercing  and  dissolving 
all  the  layers  of  the  manifest  personality,  the  relentlessly  intro- 
verted consciousness  cuts  through  the  mask,  and,  at  last  discard- 
ing it  in  all  of  its  stratifications,  arrives  at  the  anonymous  and 
strangely  unconcerned  actor  of  our  life. 

Although  in  the  Hindu  and  Buddhist  texts  vivid  descriptions 
of  the  traditional  hells  or  purgatories  are  to  be  found,  where  ap- 
palling details  are  dwelt  upon  minutely,  never  is  the  situation 
quite  the  same  as  that  of  the  afterworlds  of  Dante  and  Ulysses, 
filled  with  celebrities  long  dead  who  still  retain  all  of  the  charac- 
teristics of  their  personal  masks.  For  in  the  Oriental  hells,  though 
multitudes  of  suffering  beings  are  depicted  in  their  agonies,  none 
retain  the  traits  of  their  earthly  individualities.  Some  can  remem- 
ber having  once  been  elsewhere  and  know  what  the  deed  was 
through  which  the  present  punishment  was  incurred,  neverthe- 
less, in  general,  all  are  steeped  and  lost  in  their  present  misery. 


Just  as  any  dog  is  absorbed  in  the  state  of  being  precisely  what- 
ever dog  it  happens  to  be,  fascinated  by  the  details  of  its  present 
life— and  as  we  ourselves  are  in  general  spellbound  by  our  pres- 
ent personal  existences— so  are  the  beings  in  the  Hindu,  Jaina, 
and  Buddhist  hells.  They  are  unable  to  remember  any  former 
state,  any  costume  worn  in  a  previous  existence,  but  identify 
themselves  exclusively  with  that  which  they  now  are.  And  this, 
of  course,  is  why  they  are  in  hell. 

Once  this  Indian  idea  has  struck  the  mind,  then  the  question 
immediately  presents  itself:  Why  am  I  bound  to  be  what  I  am? 
Why  have  I  to  wear  the  mask  of  this  personality,  which  I  think 
and  feel  myself  to  be?  Why  must  1  enduie  its  destiny,  the  limita- 
tions, delusions,  and  ambitions  of  this  peculiar  part  that  I  am 
being  driven  to  enact?  Or  why,  if  I  have  left  one  mask  behind 
me,  am  I  now  back  again  in  the  limelight  in  another,  enacting 
another  role  and  in  a  different  setting?  What  is  compelling  me 
to  go  on  this  way,  being  always  something  particular— an  indi- 
vidual, with  all  of  these  particular  shortcomings  and  experiences? 
Where  and  how  am  I  ever  to  attain  to  another  state— that  of  not 
being  something  particular,  beset  by  limitations  and  qualities 
that  obstruct  my  pure,  unbounded  being? 

Can  one  grow  into  something  devoid  of  any  specificity  of  shade 
and  color,  undefined  by  shape,  unlimited  by  qualities:  something 
unspecific  and  therefore  not  liable  to  any  specific  life? 

These  are  the  questions  that  lead  to  the  experiment  of  asceti- 
cism and  yoga  practice.  They  arise  out  of  a  melancholy  weariness 
of  the  will  to  live— the  will  grown  tired,  as  it  were,  of  the  pros- 
pect of  this  endless  before  and  after,  as  though  an  actor  should 
become  suddenly  bored  with  his  career.  The  doom  of  this  time- 
less course  of  transmigration:  forgotten  past  and  aimless  future! 
Why  do  I  bother  being  what  I  am:  man,  woman,  peasant,  artist, 
rich  or  poor?  Since  I  have  impersonated,  without  remembering, 
all  of  the  possible  attitudes  and  roles— time  and  time  again,  in 


the  lost  past,  in  the  worlds  that  have  dissolved— why  do  I  keep 
going  on? 

One  might  very  well  come  to  loathe  the  hackneyed  comedy  of 
life  if  one  were  no  longer  blinded,  fascinated,  and  deluded  by 
the  details  of  one's  own  specific  part.  If  one  were  no  longer  spell- 
bound by  the  plot  of  the  play  in  which  one  happened  to  be 
caught  for  the  present,  one  might  very  well  decide  to  resign— gi\  e 
up  the  mask,  the  costume,  the  lines,  and  the  whole  affair.  It  is 
not  difficult  to  imagine  why,  for  some,  it  might  become  simply 
a  bore  to  go  on  with  this  permanent  engagement,  enacting  char- 
acter after  character  in  this  interminable  stock  company  ol  lilt-. 
When  the  feeling  comes  of  being  bored  with  it  or  nauseated  (as 
it  has  come,  time  and  time  again,  in  the  long  history  of  India) 
then  life  revolts,  rebels  against  its  own  most  elementary  task  or 
duty  of  automatically  carrying  on.  Growing  from  an  individual 
to  a  collective  urge,  this  leads  to  the  founding  of  ascetic  orders, 
such  as  those  of  the  Jaina  and  the  Buddhist  communities  of 
homeless  monks:  troops  of  renegade  actors,  heroic  deserters,  foot- 
loose and  self-exiled  from  the  universal  farce  of  the  force  of  life. 

The  argument— if  the  renegades  would  bother  to  justify  them- 
selves—would run  like  this: 

"Why  should  we  care  what  we  are?  What  real  concern  have  we 
with  all  those  parts  that  people  are  continually  forced  to  play? 
Not  to  know  that  one  has  already  enacted  every  sort  of  role,  time 
and  time  again— beggar,  king,  animal,  god— and  that  the  actor's 
career  is  no  better  in  one  than  in  another,  is  truly  a  pitiable  state 
of  mind:  for  the  most  obvious  fact  about  the  timeless  engage- 
ment is  that  all  the  objects  and  situations  of  the  plot  have  been 
offered  and  endured  in  endless  repetition  through  the  millenni- 
ums. People  must  be  completely  blind  to  go  on  submitting  to 
the  spell  of  the  same  old  allurements;  enthralled  by  the  deluding 
enticements  that  have  seduced  every  being  that  ever  lived;  hail- 
ing with  expectation,  as  a  new  and  thrilling  adventure,  the  same 
trite  deceptions  of  desire  as  have  been  experienced  endlessly; 


clinging  now  to  this,  now  to  that  illusion— all  resulting  only  in 
the  fact  that  the  actor  goes  on  acting  roles,  each  seemingly  new 
yet  already  rendered  many  times,  though  in  slightly  differing  cos- 
tumes and  with  other  casts.  Obviously,  this  is  a  ridiculous  im- 
passe. The  mind  has  been  bewitched,  trapped  by  the  pressures  of 
a  blind  life-force  that  whirls  creatures  along  in  a  cycling,  never- 
ending  stream.  And  why?  Who  or  what  is  doing  this?  Who  is  the 
fool  that  keeps  this  dim-witted  entertainment  on  the  boards?" 

The  answer  that  would  have  to  be  given  to  you  should  you  be 
unable  to  find  it  for  yourself  would  be  simply— Man:  Man  him- 
self: each  individual.  And  the  answer  is  obvious.  For  each  goes 
on  doing  what  has  always  been  done,  continually  imagining  him- 
self to  be  doing  something  different.  His  brain,  his  tongue,  his 
organs  of  action,  are  incorrigibly  possessed  by  a  drive  to  be  doing 
something— and  he  docs  it.  That  is  how  he  builds  up  new  tasks 
for  himself,  contaminating  himself  every  minute  with  new  par- 
ticles of  karmic  matter,  which  enter  into  his  nature,  flow  into  his 
life-monad,  sully  its  essence,  and  bedim  its  light.  These  involve- 
ments fetter  him  to  an  existence  murky  with  desire  and  igno- 
rance; and  here  he  treasures  his  transitory  personality  as  though 
it  were  something  substantial—clings  to  the  short  spell  of  con- 
fused life  which  is  the  only  thing  of  which  lie  is  aware,  cherishes 
the  brief  passage  of  individual  existence  between  birth  and  the 
funeral  pyre— and  thus  unconsciously  prolongs  the  period  of  his 
own  bondage  indefinitely  into  the  future.  By  being  active  in  the 
pursuit  of  what  he  conceives  to  be  his  own  or  someone  else's  wel- 
fare and  happiness,  he  only  makes  his  own  bonds,  as  well  as  every- 
one else's,  the  tighter. 



The  Cosmic  Man 

That  God  has  a  human  form  was  a  prevailing  tenet  of  the 
pre-Christian  Near  East.  The  Hebrews,  for  example,  though  for- 
bidden to  produce  graven  images  of  their  deity,  nevertheless  con- 
ceived of  him  as  antlnopouiorphic.  Jehovah  made  the  first  man 
alter  his  own  likeness,  and  we  are  all  in  human  form,  as  descend- 
ants of  Adam,  because  Jehovah  has  that  form.  Jehovah  is  the 
FIRST  MAN,  divine  and  eternal,  whereas  Adam  is  only  the 
first  man— made  in  the  image  of  Jehovah,  but  of  earth  and  con- 
sequently perishable.  Jesus,  finally,  is  the  second  man,  or  the 
MAN'S  son,  who  came  down  to  restore  the  perfection  of  the  cre- 
ated image. 

In  contrast  to  these  Near  Eastern  conceptions,  which  are  of 
Sumero-Semitic  origin,  the  aboriginal,  pre-Aryan  Indian  tradi- 
tion—which is  what  is  represented  in  the  religion  of  the  Jainas— 
regards  as  the  FIRST  MAN  not  God  (God  distinct  from  matter, 
creating  the  universe  out  of  matter  as  out  of  a  second  principle 
different  from  his  own  essence)  but  the  organism  of  the  universe 
itself.  The  entire  cosmos,  according  to  this  belief,  has  a  human 
form,  never  had  a  beginning,  and  will  never  end.  Not  "spirit" 
distinct  from  "matter,"  but  "spiritual  matter,"  "materialized 
spirit,"  is  the  FIRST  MAN.  The  philosophy  of  Jainism,  in  this 
respect,  is  monistic. 

In  its  analysis  of  the  psychology  and  destiny  of  man,  on  the 

olher  hand,  Jainism  is  dualistic.  The  life-monad  (jlva)  is  regarded 

as  absolutely  different  from  the  "karmic  matter"  (a-jiva,  "non- 

jrva")  of  the  six  colorings,"  by  which  it  is  bound  down  and  with- 

"  Cf.  supra,  p.  2*9. 



held  from  liberation.  This  is  a  view  ih:it  ]ainism  shares  with  the 
Sarikhya  philosophy,  which  is  likewise  non-Aryan,  non-Vedic,  and 
rooted  in  the  world  view  of  aboriginal  India;  r'B  for  in  the  Sarikhya, 
the  life -monads  (there  called  purusas)  are  strictly  distinguished 
from  lifeless  matter  (there  called  prakrti),  and  the  goal  of  man's 
spiritual  effort  is  conceived  of  as  the  realization  of  the  separa- 
tion of  the  two. 

This  radical  dualism  of  the  early  Taina  and  Sarikhya  views  is 
in  striking  contrast  to  the  well-known  "nondualism"  of  classic 
Brahman  ism,  as  developed  in  the  Upanisads  and  Bhagavad  Gila 
and  supremely  stated  in  the  Vedanta:  r'"  for  according  to  the 
Vedantic  teaching,  matter  (pralnti)  is  materialized  energy  (prana, 
sakti),  whicl),  in  turn,  is  the  temporal  manifestation  of  that  in- 
corporeal, supra-spiritual,  eternal  essence  which  is  the  innermost 
Self  (atman)  of  all  things.  The  Self  (atmait)  both  evolves  the  phe- 
nomenal realm  of  matter  (prakrti)  and  simultaneously  enters  into 
it  under  the  form  of  the  life-monads,  or  individual  selves  (Jivas, 
purusas).  In  other  words,  all  things,  in  all  their  aspects,  arc  but 
reflexes  of  that  one  eternal  Self— Atman-Brahman— which  is  in 
essence  beyond  all  definition,  name  and  form.'"' 

"The  non-existent,  verily,  was  here  in  the  beginning,"  we  read, 
for  example,  in  one  of  the  basic  Brahmanic  texts."1  That  "non- 
existent" is  not  to  be  regarded  simply  as  a  nothing;  for  then  one 
would  not  have  declared  that  it  "was."  Hence  the  text  goes  on 

58  Cf.  supra,  p.  fio.  Editor's  note. 

50  Editor's  note:  This  subject  will  be  discussed  at  length,  infra,  pp.  555- 
4G3-  Dr.  Zimmer's  present  point  will  be  simply  that  though  the  Jaina- 
Sankhya  view  is  dualistic  and  the  Vedic- Vedantic  nondualistic  with 
respect  to  the  relationship  of  the  life-monad  (jwa,  pinwa)  to  matter 
(karma,  prakrti),  both  traditions  represent  the  Cosmic  Man  as  identical 
with  the  universe— not  as  an  external  God-Creator  of  something  absolutely 
separate  from  himself. 

90  Cf.  supra,  pp.  74-83. 

01  Satapatha  Brahmana  6.  1.  1.  109. 



to  ask:  "What  was  this  non-existent?"  To  which  it  gives  the  an- 
swer: "Life  energy  (prarta)," 

Now  tile  seven  lilc  energies  (prayas)  spoke  together: 6a  "Truly, 
in  the  state  in  which  we  now  find  ourselves,"  they  said,  "we  shall 
never  be  able  to  bring  forth.  Let  us  make,  therefore,  out  of  these 
seven  men  [i.e.,  themselves],  one  man.  They  made  those  seven 
men  [themselves]  into  one  man.  ...  He  it  was  who  became  the 
Lord  of  Progeny. 

"And  this  MAN,  the  Lord  of  Progeny,  felt  the  desire  within 
himself:  'I  would  be  more!  I  would  bring  forth!'  He  travailed 
and  created  heat  within.  When  he  had  travailed  and  created  beat, 
be  brought  forth  from  himself,  as  his  first  creation,  Holy  Power, 
that  is,  the  'threefold  wisdom'  [the  Vcdas].  This  threefold  wis- 
dom became  a  solid  'standing  place'  on  which  he  was  able  to 
stand  firm.  .  .  . 

"On  this  solid  place  he  then  firmly  stood  and  glowed  within. 
He  brought  forth  the  waters,  out  of  himself,  out  of  speech  (vac), 
to  be  the  world.  Speech  indeed  was  bis;  it  was  brought  forth  from 
him.  It  filled  everything  here,  whatever  is  here  it  filled." 

This  is  an  example  of  a  mythological  rendition  of  the  classical 
Brahmanic  view  of  the  procession  of  all  creation,  in  all  its  aspects, 
from  the  One.  Speech  (vac,  i.e.,  the  Word,  X6yog)  and  the  waters 
(compare  Genesis  1:2)  are  here  the  self-duplication  of  the  one 
unqualified  Reality— its  self-manifestation  as  the  multifariously 
qualified.  The  world  of  names  and  forms  (namartipa),1'3  and  of 
the  subject-object  polarity,  has  been  produced;  the  state  of  the 
pairs-of-opposites  (viz.  "spirit"  and  "matter")  has.  been  created  as 
an  emanation,  or  self-splitting,  of  the  nondual  FIRST  MAN. 
All  partakes  of,  and  participates  in,  his  being.  What  would  seem 

62  Prana.  "life  breath":  the  seven  (nsu.tlh  five^  pranas  constitute  the  vital 
energies  in  every  creature:  their  departure  marks  the  death  of  the  indi- 
vidual being;  cf.  infra,  pp.  318-319.  In  the  present  text  they  are  personified 
:is  seven  holy  sa^es.  or  Ksis. 

fla  Cf.  supra,  pp.  23-24. 



to  the  eye  to  be  a  sphere  of  dual  principles  has  proceeded  from 
that  unique  Reality  and  is  that  one  Reality.  The  Brahmans  in 
their  meditation,  therefore,  seek,  to  resolve  all  back  again  to  that 
"one  without  a  second"— whereas  the  Jainas,  in  theirs,  separate 
(within  the  confines  of  that  one  FIRST  MAN)  the  element  of 
spirit  (the  life-monad,  jwa)  from  that  of  matter  {karma,  ajiva). 
Nevertheless  in  both  cases— both  according  to  the  non-Aryan 
Jainas  and  according  to  the  Indo-Aryan  Brahmans— the  Universal 
God  (who  is  at  the  same  time  the  universe)  is  himself  both 
"matter"  and  "spirit."  This  cosmic  monism  sets  these  beliefs  far 
apart  from  the  orthodox  Judeo-Christian  view. 

The  Christian  notion  of  God  as  a  giant  human  form  is  ren- 
dered by  the Swedcnborgians, however,  in  a  figure  that  somewhat 
suggests  the  cosmic  MAN  of  the  Jainas.  Emanuel  Swedenborg 
(1688-1772)  experienced  in  his  visions  the  whole  of  heaven  in 
this  anthropomorphic  way.  His  work,  Heaven  and  lis  Wonders, 
the  World  of  Spirits,  and  Hell:  ft  am  Things  Heard  and  Seen,0* 
states:  "That  heaven  as  one  whole  represents  one  man,  is  an 
arcanum  not  yet  known  in  the  world,  but  very  well  known  in 
the  heavens."08  "The  angels,"  Swedenborg  continues,  "do  not, 
indeed,  see  all  heaven,  collectively,  in  such  a  form,  for  the  whole 
of  heaven  is  too  vast  10  be  grasped  by  t lie  sight  of  any  angel;  but 
they  occasionally  see  distant  societies,  consisting  of  many  thou- 
sands of  angels,  as  one  object  in  such  a  form;  and  from  a  society, 
as  a  part,  they  form  their  conclusion  respecting  the  whole,  which 
is  heaven."  6a  "Such  being  the-  form  of  heaven,  it  is  also  governed 
by  the  Lord  as  ope  man,  and  thus  as  one  whole."  °7 

In  the  same  great  visionary's  Angelic  Wisdom  concerning  the 
Divine  Love,  and  the  Divine  Wisdom  (y]Cy\),  where  the  heavens 

84  First  published  in  Latin,  London,  1758.  Translation  by  the  Rev. 
Samuel  Noble,  New  York.  1883. 

«fi  lb.r  §  6a. 
"/ft.,  §63. 



arc  again  described  as  a  human  organism,  we  read:  "The  heavens 
are  divided  into  two  kingdoms,  one  called  celestial,  the  other 
spiritual;  in  the  celestial  kingdom  love  to  the  Lord  reigns,  in  the 
spiritual  kingdom  wisdom  from  that  love.  The  kingdom  where 
love  reigns  is  called  heaven's  cardiac  kingdom,  the  one  where  wis- 
dom reigns  is  called  its  pulmonic  kingdom.  Be  it  known,  that  the 
whole  angelic  heaven  in  its  aggregate  represents  a  man,  and  be- 
fore the  Lord  appears  as  a  man;  consequently  its  heart  makes  one 
kingdom  and  its  lungs  another.  For  there  is  a  general  cardiac  and 
pulmonic  movement  throughout  heaven,  and  a  particular  move- 
ment therefrom  in  each  angel.  The  general  cardiac  and  pulmonic 
movement  is  from  the  Lord  alone,  because  love  and  wisdom  are 
from  Mini  alone";""  i.e.,  heaven  has  the  form  of  a  giant  man,  and 
this  form  is  enlivened  through  the  cardiac  movement  which  is 
divine  love,  incessantly  proceeding  from  God,  as  well  as  by  the 
pulmonic,  or  respiratory,  which  is  divine  reason.  God  is  not  iden- 
tical with  the  giant  anthropomorphic  organism  formed  of  all  the 
stratifications  of  heaven,  yet  pervades  it  with  his  love  and  wis- 
dom, and  these,  in  turn,  pervade  the  organism,  as  the  blood  from 
the  heart  and  the  air  from  the  lungs  pervade  the  human  frame. 

The  most  significant  difference  between  this  Western  and  the 
Indian  Cosmic  Man  is  that  whereas  in  Swedenborg's  vision  only 
heaven  is  shaped  according  to  the  divine  human  image  (which  is 
a  likeness  of  the  archetypal  form  of  God  himself),  in  Jainism  the 
whole  universe,  including  even  its  infrahuman  stratifications,  is 
comprised  in  the  divine  anthropomorphic  organism— beasts  and 
plants,  which  are  devoid  of  man's  higher  faculties  of  love,  wis- 
dom, and  spirituality,  and  also  inorganic  matter  and  the  mute 
elements.  This  accords  with  the  universal  scope  of  India's  doc- 
trines of  perfection,  transformation,  and  redemption:  not  only 
human  beings,  but  all  existences  are  included.  Though  steeped 
in  darkness,  the  beasts  and  even  the  atoms  are  looking  for  salva- 

88  Published  by  the  American  Swedenborg  and  Publishing  Society,  New 
York,  191s,  §  381. 



tion.  They  are  meant  to  be  taught  and  guided  by  the  universal 
saviors,  enlightened  and  redeemed;  tor  they  arc  members  of  the 
all-comprehending  brotherhood  of  life-monads.  Their  destiny  is 
to  ascend,  at  last,  beyond  the  bondages  of  the  karma  of  the  six 

"Because  God  isa  Man,"  we  read  again  in  Swedenborg's  Divine 
Love  and  Wisdom  (and  here  it  becomes  clear  that  the  human 
shape  of  the  heavens  can  he  identified  with  God  himself),  "the 
whole  angel  ichca\  en  in  the  aggicgate  resembles  a  single  man,  and 
is  divided  into  regions  and  provinces  according  to  the  members, 
viscera,  and  organs  of  man.  Thus  there  are  societies  of  heaven 
which  constitute  the  pro\ince  of  all  things  of  the  brain,  of  all 
things  of  the  facial  organs,  and  of  all  things  of  the  viscera  of  the 
body;  and  these  provinces  are  separated  from  each  other,  just  as 
those  organs  are  separated  in  man;  moreover,  the  angels  know 
in  what  province  of  man  they  are.  The  whole  heaven  has  this 
resemblance  to  man,  because  God  is  a  Man,  God  is  also  heaven, 
because  the  angels,  who  constitute  heaven,  are  recipients  of  love 
and  wisdom  from  the  Lord,  recipients  are  images."  00  The  corol- 
lary, of  course,  is  that  the  human  organism  is  a  reflection  of  heav- 
ens: "The  multitude  of  these  little  glands  [which  constitute  the 
human  brain]  may  also  be  compared  to  the  multitude  of  angelic 
societies  in  the  heavens,  which  also  are  countless,  and,  I  have  been 
told,  are  in  the  same  order  as  the  glands." T0 

"It  has  not  been  granted  me  to  see  of  what  form  hell  is  in  the 
whole:  it  has  only  been  told  me,  that  as  the  universal  heaven, 
viewed  collectively,  is  as  one  man,  so  the  universal  hell,  viewed 
collectively,  is  as  one  devil,  and  may  also  be  exhibited  to  view  in 
the  shape  of  one  devil." 71  "It  has  hitherto  been  supposed  in  the 
world,  that  there  is  a  certain  individual  devil  who  rules  over  the 
hells;  and  that  he  was  created  an  angel  of  light,  but  afterwards 

™  lb.,  §  288.  The  italics  are  Dr.  Zimmcr's. 

70  lb*i  §  3^6-  The  italic*,  again  arc  Dr.  Zimmcr's. 

71  Swedcnborg,  Heaven  and  Its  Wonders  and  Hell,  §  553. 



became  a  rebel,  and  was  cast,  with  his  crew,  into  hell.  The  reason 
that  such  a  belief  has  prevailed  is,  because  mention  occurs  in  the 
Word  of  the  devil  and  Satan,  and  also  of  Lucifer,  and  the  Word 
has  been  understood  in  those  passages,  according  to  the  literal 
sense:  whereas  the  truth  is,  that  by  the  devil  and  Satan  is  there 
signified  hell;  by  the  devil  being  meant  that  hell  which  is  at  the 
back,  and  which  is  inhabited  by  the  worst  sort  of  spirits,  who 
are  called  evil  genii;  and  by  Satan,  the  hell  which  is  in  front,  the 
inhabitants  of  which  are  not  so  malignant,  and  who  are  called 
evil  spirits:  whilst  by  Lucifer  arc  signified  such  as  belong  to  Babel 
or  Babylon,  who  are  those  who  pretend  to  extend  their  authority 
over  heaven  itself."72 

"In  the  Grand  Man,  who  is  heaven,  they  that  are  stationed  in 
the  head,  are  in  the  enjoyment  of  every  good  above  all  others: 
for  they  are  in  the  enjoyment  of  love,  peace,  innocence,  wisdom, 
and  intelligence;  and  thence  of  joy  and  happiness.  These  have  an 
influx  into  the  head,  and  into  whatever  appertains  to  the  head, 
with  man,  and  corresponds  thereto.  In  the  Grand  Man,  who  is 
heaven,  they  that  are  stationed  in  the  breast,  are  in  the  enjoy- 
ment of  the  good  of  charity  and  faith.  ...  In  the  Grand  Man, 
or  heaven,  they  that  are  stationed  in  the  loins,  and  in  the  organs 
belonging  to  generation  therewith  connected,  are  they  who  are 
eminently  grounded  in  conjugal  love.  They  who  are  stationed  in 
the  feet,  are  grounded  in  the  lowest  good  of  heaven,  which  is 
called  spiritual-natural  good.  They  who  are  in  the  arms  and 
hands,  are  in  the  power  of  truth  derived  from  good.  They  who 
are  in  the  eyes,  are  those  eminent  for  understanding.  They  who 
arc  in  the  ears,  are  in  attention  and  obedience.  They  in  the  nos- 
trils, are  those  distinguished  for  perception.  They  in  the  mouth 
and  tongue,  are  such  as  excel  in  discoursing  from  understanding 
and  perception.  They  in  the  kidneys,  are  such  as  are  grounded 
in  truth  of  a  searching,  distinguishing,  and  castigatory  character. 
They  in  the  liver,  pancreas,  and  spleen,  arc  grounded  in  the  puri- 

"  lb.,  §544. 



fication  of  good  and  truth  by  various  methods.  So  with  those  in 
the  other  members  and  organs.  All  have  an  influx  into  the  similar 
parts  of  man,  and  correspond  to  them.  The  influx  of  heaven  takes 
place  into  the  functions  and  uses  of  the  members;  and  their  uses, 
being  from  the  spiritual  world,  invest  themselves  with  forms  by 
means  of  such  materials  as  are  found  in  the  natural  world,  and 
so  present  themselves  in  effects.  Hence  there  is  a  correspondence 
between  them."  7S  "In  general,  the  supreme  or  third  heaven  com- 
poses the  head,  as  far  as  the  neck;  the  middle  or  second  heaven 
composes  the  breast  or  body,  to  the  loins  and  knees;  the  lowest  or 
first  heaven  composes  the  legs  and  feet  down  to  the  soles;  as  also, 
the  arms  down  to  the  fingers;  for  the  arms  and  hands  are  parts 
belonging  to  the  lowest  organs  of  man,  although  at  the  sides."74 
The  astonishingly  close  relationship  of  this  anthropormorphic 
image  to  the  Cosmic  Man  of  Jaina  belief  will  appear  in  the  course 
of  the  following  exposition  of  the  Jaina  way  of  ascending  to  the 
topmost  cranial  vacancy  of  that  Grand  Man  which  is  their  uni- 

The  Jaina  Doctrine  of  Bondage 

Every  thought  and  act,  according  to  the  pessimistic  philosophy 
of  the  Jainas,  entails  an  accumulation  of  fresh  karmic  substance. 

78  lb.,  §  96.  Compare  the  Indian  idea  of  the  microcosm  as  a  settlement 
of  divine  forces  enacting  the  roles  of  sense  and  the  other  faculties;  as, 
for  instance,  in  the  hymn  from  the  Alharva  Veda  quoted  supra,  pp.  9-11. 

"lb.,  §65. 



To  go  on  living  means  to  go  on  being  active— in  speech,  in  body, 
or  in  mind;  it  means  to  go  on  doing  something  every  day.  And 
this  results  in  the  storing  up  involuntarily  of  the  "seeds"  of  fu- 
ture action,  which  grow  and  ripen  into  the  "fruits"  of  our  coming 
sufferings,  joys,  situations,  and  existences.  Such  "seeds"  are  rep- 
resented as  entering  and  lodging  in  the  life-monad,  where,  in  due 
time,  they  become  transformed  into  the  circumstances  of  life, 
producing  success  and  calamity  and  weaving  the  mask— the  physi- 
ognomy and  character— of  a  developing  individual.  The  process 
of  life  itself  consumes  the  karmic  substance,  burning  it  up  like 
fuel,  but  at  the  same  time  attracts  fresh  material  to  the  burning 
center  of  vital  operations.  Thus  the  life-monad  is  reinfected  by 
karma.  New  seeds  of  future  fruits  pour  in.  Two  contradictory  yet 
exactly  complementary  processes  are  kept,  in  this  way,  in  opera- 
tion. The  seeds,  the  karmic  materials,  are  being  exhausted  rapidly 
all  the  time  through  the  unconscious  as  well  as  the  conscious  ac- 
tions of  the  psychosomatic  system,  and  yet  through  those  identical 
actions  the  karmic  storage  bins  are  being  continually  re-stocked. 
Hence  the  conflagration  that  is  one's  life  goes  crackling  on. 

This  self-supporting,  continuous.dual  process  (the  karmic  seed- 
substance  of  the  six  colorings  '*  burning  itself  out  into  events  that 
themselves  replenish  it)  is  regarded  as  taking  place— in  a  very 
literal,  physical  sense— in  the  subtle  sphere  or  body  of  the  life- 
monad  (jiva).7a  The  continuous  influx  (asrava)  "  of  subtle  matter 
into  the  life-monad  is  pictured  as  a  kind  of  pouring  in  of  liquid 
colorings,  which  then  tinge  it;  for  the  life-monad  is  a  subtle  crys- 
tal, which,  in  its  pristine  state,  untinged  by  karmic  matter,  is 
stainless,  devoid  of  color,  and  perfectly  transparent;  the  flow  en- 
tering the  clear  body  darkens  it,  infecting  it  with  the  color  (lesya) 
corresponding  to  the  moral  character  of  the  committed  act.  Vir- 
tuous acts  and  the  lighter,  venial  offenses  impart  comparatively 

«  Cf.  supra,  p.  229. 

"  Cf.  supra,  pp.  887-129. 

"Cf.nipro,p.  sjo. 



light,  less  obscuring  lesyas  (mild  whitish  shades,  through  yellow 
and  violent  red,  down  to  smoky  tones— as  we  have  already  seen) 
whereas  major  sins  hring  in  much  darker  stains  (dark  blue  and 
black).  The  worst  offense  possible,  according  to  the  Jaina  view, 
is  the  killing  or  injuring  of  a  living  being:  himsa,  "the  intent  to 
kill"  (from  the  verbal  root  han,  "to  kill").  Ahirhsa,  "non-injury," 
correspondingly  (i.e.,  the  infliction  of  no  harm  on  any  creature), 
is  the  primary  Jaina  rule  of  virtue. 

This  clean-cut  principle  is  based  on  the  belief  that  all  life- 
monads  are  fundamentally  fellow  creatures— and  by"all"  is  meant 
not  only  human  beings,  but  also  animals  and  plants,  and  even 
the  indwelling  molecules  or  atoms  of  matter.  The  killing  even 
accidentally  of  such  a  fellow  being  darkens  the  crystal  of  the  life- 
monad  with  a  dye  of  deepest  hue.  That  is  why  animals  of  prey, 
which  feed  on  creatures  that  they  have  killed,  are  always  in- 
fected with  lesyas  very  dark  in  shade.  So  also  men  who  engage  in 
killing  professionally— butchers,  hunters,  waTrioTS,  etc.:  their  life- 
monads  are  completely  without  light. 

The  color  of  the  monad-crystal  indicates  the  realm  of  the  uni- 
verse, whether  high  or  low,  which  the  individual  is  to  inhabit. 
Gods  and  celestial  beings  arc  of  the  brighter  hues;  animals  and 
the  tortured  inmates  of  hell  are  dark.  And  during  the  course  of 
a  lifetime  the  color  of  the  crystal  continually  changes  according 
to  the  moral  conduct  of  the  living  being.  In  merciful,  unselfish 
people,  inclined  toward  purity,  self-abnegation,  enlightenment, 
and  release,  the  crystal  continually  brightens,  the  lighter  color- 
ings coming  finally  to  prevail,  whereas  in  the  selfish,  heedless,  and 
reckless— those  doomed  to  sink  in  their  following  birth  either  to 
the  tortures  of  hell  or  to  the  lower  realms  of  the  animal  world 
where  they  will  feed  upon  each  other— the  darkness  of  the  crystal 
thickens  into  black.  And  according  to  its  color,  the  life-monad 
ascends  or  falls  (quite  literally)  in  the  body  of  the  Universal  Being. 

This  literal-minded,  gentle  doctrine  of  universal  vice  and  vir- 
tue was  evolved  by  an  ascetic,  self-denying,  saintly  group  of  ren- 


egades  from  the  struggle  for  life,  and  accepted  by  a  peaceful, 
vegetarian  bourgeoisie— merchants,  money-dealers,  and  artisans. 
Apparently,  it  goes  back  to  the  deepest  Indian  past.  The  theory 
of  the  karmic  colors  (lesyas)  is  not  peculiar  to  the  Jainas,  but 
seems  to  have  been  part  of  the  general  pre-Aryan  inheritance 
that  was  preserved  in  Magadlia  (northeastern  India),  and  theic 
restated  in  the  fifth  century  B.C.  by  a  number  of  non-Brahman 
teachers.  It  is  an  archaic  bit  of  naively  materialistic  psychology 
diametrically  opposed  to  the  main  tenets  of  the  Vedic  tradition. 
And  yet,  the  vivid  metaphor  of  the  tainted  crystal  has  been  car- 
ried on  in  the  composite  stream  of  classical  Indian  teaching,  which 
developed  when  the  ancient  Brahman  orthodoxy  and  the  no  less 
ancient  non-Aryan  tiaditions  at  last  became  synthesized.  In  the 
Sarikhya  system  it  figures  conspicuously,  where  it  is  used  to  illus- 
trate the  relationship  between  the  life-monad  and  the  context  of 
bondage  in  which  the  monad  is  held  until  discriminating  knowl- 
edge finally  dawns  and  the  bonds  are  dissolved.  From  the  Sarikhya 
it  passed  then  into  Buddhist  and  Brahman  thought. 

As  leprcscnted  by  the  Jainas,  the  advance  of  the  individual 
toward  perfection  and  emancipation  is  the  result  of  an  actual 
physical  process  of  cleansing  taking  place  in  the  sphere  of  subtle 
matter— literally,  a  cleansing  of  the  crystal-like  life-monad.  When 
the  latter  is  freed  completely  of  all  coloring  karmic  contamina- 
tion it  literally  shines  with  a  transparent  lucidity;  for  the  crystal 
of  the  life-monad,  in  itself,  is  absolutely  diaphanous.  Moreover, 
when  made  clean  it  is  immediately  capable  of  mirroring  the  high- 
est truth  of  man  and  the  universe,  reflecting  reality  as  it  really 
is.  The  instant  the  karmic  darkening  substance  of  the  six  color- 
ings is  removed,  therefore,  non-knowing  too  is  gone.  Omniscience, 
that  is  to  say,  is  co-existent  with  the  supreme  state  of  the  absolute 
clarity  of  the  life-monad,  and  this,  precisely,  is  release.  No  longer 
is  the  monad  dimmed  with  beclouding  passions,  but  open-free 
—unlimited  by  the  particularizing  qualities  .that  constitute  indi- 


viduality.  No  longer  is  there  felt  the  otherwise  universal  compul- 
sion to  keep  on  wearing  the  mask  of  some  bewildered  personality, 
the  mask  of  man,  beast,  tortured  soul,  or  god. 

The  Jahia  Doctrine  of  Kclcasc 

The  transcendental  wisdom  that  confers,  and  is  identical 
with,  release  from  the  round  of  rebirths  is  regarded  as  a  secret 
doctrine  in  the  Brahmanic  tradition,  into  which  it  was  introduced 
as  a  new  disclosure  in  the  comparatively  late  period  of  the  TJpan- 
isads.  The  Aryan  sages  of  the  Vedic  Age  knew  nothing  of  trans- 
migration; nor  was  the  doctrine  alluded  to  in  the  complete  course 
of  orthodox  Vedic  studies  that  was  communicated  centuries  later 
by  the  Brahman  sage  Aruni  to  his  son  Svetaketu.78  The  idea  of 
the  sorrowful  round  really  belongs  to  the  non-Aryan,  aboriginal 
inheritance  of  those  noble  clans  that  in  Mahavlra's  and  the  Bud- 
dha's time  were  challenging  the  somewhat  narrow  views  of  Brah- 
man orthodoxy;  and  it  was  imparted  freely  to  spiritually  qualified 
Brahmans  when  those  haughty  conquerors  finally  condescended 
to  ask  for  it.  For  the  wisdom  of  the  non-Aryan  sages  had  never 
been  exclusive  in  quite  the  same  way  as  that  of  the  Vedic  Brah- 
mans. The  Jaina,  Buddhist,  and  other  related  heterodox  Indian 
teachings  ™  are  not  kept  secret  like  the  powerful  formulae  of  the 
Brahman  families.  They  are  regarded  as  belonging  to  all— the 

78  Chandogya  Vpanhad  6;  cf.  infra,  pp.  335-S37. 

"For  the  meaning  of  the  terms  "orthodox"  and  "heterodox"  in  this 
context,  cf.  supra,  p.  6o,  Editor's  note. 



only  prerequisite  to  their  communication  being  that  the  candi- 
date should  have  adopted  an  ascetic  way  of  life  after  fulfilling 
the  preliminary  disciplines  of  his  normal  secular  duties;  that  is 
to  say,  they  are  exclusive  only  in  a  spiritual,  not  in  a  genealogical 

In  Vedic  Brahmanism  the  domestic  cult  serves  the  departed 
Fathers  sent  ahead  to  the  Father-world,  who  require  ancestral 
offerings  lest  destruction  in  the  form  of  absolute  dissolution 
(nivrtti)  should  overtake  them.  The  cult,  in  other  words,  serves 
the  end  of  continued  life,  defending  the  dead  against  the  terri- 
ble "dying  again"  (punar-mrlyu)  through  which  their  existence 
would  be  brought  to  its  final  term.  This  is  in  diametrical  con- 
trast to  the  chief  concern  of  aboriginal,  pre-Aryan  India,  which 
was,  as  we  have  seen,  lest  life  in  iis  painful  round  should  not 
end.  The  rituals  of  the  secular  cult  here  were  practiced  not  for 
the  continuance,  but  for  the  amelioration,  of  existence— the 
averting  of  ill-fortune  and  sufferings  during  the  present  life,  as 
well  as  the  avoidance  of  descent  to  the  painful  purgatories  or 
rebirth  in  the  kingdom  of  the  beasts.  Celestial  bliss  was  desired 
as  infinitely  preferable  to  the  agonies  of  the  lower  realms,  but 
beyond  that,  there  was  the  still  higher  good  known  to  the  one 
who  would  never  again  be  involved  in  any  form  at  all. 

Omnis  determinatio  est  negalio:  all  determination  of  the  life- 
monad  through  the  karmic  influx  that  makes  for  individualiza- 
tion detracts  from  its  infinite  power  and  negates  its  highest 
possibilities.  Hence  the  proper  goal  is  restitutio  in  integrum, 
restitution  of  the  life-monad  to  its  innate  ideal  state.  This  is 
what  is  known  in  Sanskrit  as  kaivalya,  "integration,"  the  restora- 
tion of  the  faculties  that  have  been  temporarily  lost  through 
being  obscured.  All  entities  as  we  see  them  in  the  world  are  in 
varying  degrees  imperfect,  yet  capable  of  perfection  through 
proper  effort  and  the  consequent  insight.  All  beings  are  in- 
tended to  be  omniscient,  omnipotent,  unlimited,  and  unfet- 

80  Cf.  supra,  pp.  59-60. 



tered;  that  is  what  constitutes  their  secret  veiled  dignity.  Poten- 
tially they  partake  of  the  plenitude  of  life,  which  is  divine; 
essentially  they  are  constituents  of  the  abundance  and  fullness 
of  blissful  energy.  And  yet  they  dwell  in  sorrow.  The  aim  ol 
men  must  be  to  make  manifest  the  power  that  is  latent  within 
them  by  removing  whatever  hindrances  may  he  standing  in  the 

Although  this  conception  was  certainly  not  native  to  the 
Aryan  religion  of  the  Yedic  gods,  and  was  in  fact  diametrically 
opposed  to  its  conception  of  the  nature  and  destiny  of  man,  it 
became  fused  with  it  during  the  first  millennum  B.C.,  and 
since  that  time  has  stood  as  one  of  the  basic  doctrines  of 
classical  Indian  philosophy.  It  pervades  the  whole  text  me  ol 
Brahmanic  thought  throughout  the  period  of  the  Upanisads, 
where  the  realization  of  the  divine  Self  within  is  proclaimed  as 
the  sole  pursuit  worthy  of  one  endowed  with  human  birth.  And 
yet  it  is  important  to  note  that  between  the  Jaina  view  and  that 
of  the  Brahmanic  development  of  the  first  millennium  (as  repi  e- 
sented,  typically,  in  the  Upanisads)  there  is  no  less  difference 
than  resemblance:  also  the  Buddhist  doctrine  is  very  different; 
for  whereas  the  Jaina  philosophy  is  characterized  by  a  strictly 
mechanical  materialism  with  respect  to  the  subtle  substantiality 
of  the  life-monad  and  the  karmic  influx,  as  well  as  with  respect 
to  the  state  of  the  released,  both  in  the  Upanisads  and  in  the 
Buddhistic  writings  an  immaterial,  psychological  outlook  on  the 
same  questions  is  presented.  And  this  fundamental  difference 
touches  every  detail,  not  only  of  the  cosmologies  and  meta- 
physics in  question,  but  also  of  the  related  moral  codes. 

For  example,  if  a  Jaina  monk  swallows  a  morsel  of  meat  in- 
advertently while  eating  the  food  that  has  collected  in  his  alms- 
bowl  during  his  daily  begging-tour  (at  the  doors  of  whatever 
town  or  village  he  may  happen  to  be  traversing  in  the  course  of 
his  aimless,  homeless  pilgrimage),  the  crystal  of  his  life-monad 
becomes  automatically  stained  by  a  dark  influx,  in  mechanical 


consequence  of  the  fact  that  he  has  shared  in  the  flesh  of  some 
slaughtered  being.  And  wherever  the  Jaina  ascetic  walks,  he  has 
to  sweep  the  way  before  his  feet  with  a  little  broom,  so  that  no 
minute  living  thing  may  be  crushed  by  his  heel.  The  Buddhist 
monk,  on  the  contrary,  goes  without  a  broom.  He  is  taught  to 
be  constantly  watchful  not  so  much  of  where  he  steps  as  of  his 
feelings  and  intentions.  He  is  to  be  "fully  conscious  and  full  of 
self-control"  (smrtimanl  samprajanan),  mindful,  attentive,  and 
with  his  sense  of  responsibility  constantly  alert.  With  respect 
to  meat,  he  is  guilty  only  if  he  longs  for  it,  or  if  the  animal  has 
been  killed  expressly  for  him  and  he  knows  it.  Should  he  merely 
happen  to  receive  some  scraps  along  with  the  rice  that  he  is 
offered,  he  can  swallow  these  with  the  rest  of  the  dish  without 
becoming  polluted. 

The  Buddhist  idea  of  the  progress  to  purity,  self-detachment, 
and  final  enlightenment  is  based  on  a  principle  of  basically 
moral  watchfulness  over  one's  feelings  and  propensities.  Not  the 
fact  but  the  attitude  toward  it  is  the  thing  that  counts.  The 
Buddhist  way,  in  other  words,  is  a  discipline  of  psychological 
control;  and  so  there  will  be  found  no  theories  about  either  the 
subtle  karmic  influx  or  the  subtle  imperishable  crystal  of  the 
life-monad  in  the  Buddhist  doctrine.  Both  of  these  ideas  are 
discarded  as  materialistic  errors,  caused  by  primitive  ignorance 
and  not  verified  by  inner  experience.  They  are  regarded  as  be- 
longing to  that  vast  morass  of  abstract  metaphysical  and  bio- 
logical lore  which  serves  only  to  involve  and  trap  the  human 
mind— notions  that  rather  fetter  one  to,  than  release  one  from, 
the  spheres  of  pain  and  birth.  For  the  outlook  on  psychic  re- 
ality of  the  practicing  Buddhist  is  based  on  the  actual  experi- 
ences of  his  own  yoga-practice  (the  techniques  of  dismissing  or 
doing  away  with  every  kind  of  fixed  notion  and  attitude  of 
mind),  and  these  lead  inevitably  to  a  complete  spiritualization 
not  only  of  the  idea  of  release  but  also  of  that  of  bondage.  The 
accomplished  Buddhist  clings,  in  the  end,  to  no  notion  what- 


soever,  not  even  that  of  the  Buddha,  that  of  the  path  of  the 
doctrine,  or  that  of  the  goal  to  be  attained. 

jainism,  on  the  other  hand,  is  naively  materialistic  in  its  di- 
rect and  simple  view  of  the  universe,  the  hosts  of  monads  that 
fill  matter  as  its  elementary  living  molecules,  and  the  problem 
of  gaining  release.  The  crystal  of  the  life-monad,  according  to 
this  system  of  archaic  positivism,  is  actually  (i.e.,  physically) 
stained  and  darkened  by  the  vai  ious  colors  of  the  karmic  influx; 
and  this,  moreover,  has  been  its  condition  since  immemorial 
times.  To  bring  the  monad  to  its  proper  state,  every  door 
through  which  new  karmic  substance  might  enter  into  it  must 
be  tightly  closed  and  kept  that  way,  so  that  the  process  of  the 
automatic  "influx  of  the  six  colorings"  {asrava)  will  be  blocked. 
To  close  the  gates  means  to  abstain  from  action,  action  of  every 
sort.  The  beclouding  matter  already  present  within  will  then 
slowly  dwindle,  transforming  itself  automatically  into  the  nat- 
ural events  of  the  biological  life- process."1  The  present  karmic 
seeds  will  grow  and  yield  their  inevitable  fruits  in  the  form  of 
sufferings  and  physical  experiences,  and  so  the  discoloration  will 
gradually  disappear.  Then  at  last,  if  no  fresh  particles  are  per- 
mitted to  enter,  the  translucent  purity  of  the  life-monad  will  be 
automatically  attained. 

The  Jaina  monk  does  not  permit  himself  to  respond  in  any 
manner  whatsoever  to  the  events  that  afflict  his  person  or  take 
place  within  his  ken.  He  subjects  his  physique  and  psyche  to  a 
terrific  training  in  ascetic  aloofness,  and  actually  becomes  un- 
assailably  indifferent  to  pleasure  and  pain,  and  to  all  objects, 
whether  desirable,  repugnant,  or  even  dangerous.  An  incessant 
cleansing  process  is  kept  in  operation,  a  severe  and  difficult 
physical  and  mental  discipline  of  interior  concentration,  which 
burns  up  with  its  beat  (tapas)  the  karmic  seeds  already  present. 
Thus  the  life-monad  gradually  clears,  and  attains  its  intrinsic 
crystal  clarity,  while  the  actor  obdurately  refuses  to  participate 

81  Cf.  supra,  pp.  248-249. 



any  longer  in  the  play  on  the  stage  of  life.  His  goal  is  to  achieve 
a  state  of  intentional  psychic  paralysis.  Rejecting  every  kind  of 
mask  and  holding  with  a  sublime  stubbornness  to  his  invincible 
state  of  non-co-operation,  finally  he  wins.  The  busy  host  of 
pfayers  who  fill  the  universe,  still  enchanted  by  their  roles  and 
eager  to  go  on  contending  with  each  other  for  the  limelight, 
changing  masks  and  lines  from  life  to  life,  enacting  all  the 
sufferings,  achievements,  and  surprises  of  their  biographies,  sim- 
ply turn  from  him  and  let  him  go.  He  has  escaped.  So  far  as  the 
world  is  concerned,  he  is  a  useless  fool. 

The  final  state  to  which  the  Jaina  monk  thus  wins  is  termed, 
as  we  have  said,  kaivalya,  "isolation,"  "completeness  through 
integration"— which  means  absolute  release;  for  when  every 
particle  of  karmic  substance  has  been  burnt  out,  no  influx  of 
new  seeds  having  been  permitted,  there  remains  no  longer  any 
possibility  of  maturing  a  new  experience.  Even  the  danger  of 
becoming  a  celestial  being  has  been  overcome— a  king  of  gods, 
an  Indra,  wielding  the  thunderbolt  and  enjoying  in  domains 
of  heavenly  bliss,  for  periods  of  numerous  oceans  of  time,  the 
delectable  fruits  of  virtuous  conduct  in  former  lives.  All  the 
ties  that  ever  fettered  the  life-monad,  whether  to  higher  or  to 
lower  realms  of  being,  have  been  dissolved  away.  No  coloring 
remains  as  a  hue  of  kinship  to  prompt  one  to  assume  the  garb 
of  some  element,  plant,  animal,  human  or  superhuman  being; 
no  hue  of  ignorance  to  make  one  move.  And  though  the  body 
may  remain  intact  for  a  few  more  days,  until  its  metabolism  has 
completely  ceased,  the  center  of  attraction  of  the  life-monad  has 
already  lifted  far  beyond  this  mortal  coil. 

For  karmic  matter,  subtle  though  it  is,  is  a  weight  that  pulls 
the  monad  down,  retaining  it  in  one  or  another  of  the  spheres 
of  ignorant  action,  the  precise  placement  of  the  monad  in  these 
spheres  being  dependent  upon  its  density  or  specific  gravity— 
which  is  indicated  by  its  hue.  The  darker  lesyas-deep  blue  or 
black— hold  the  monad  in  the  lower  storeys  of  the  universe,  the 


subterranean  chambers  of  hell  or  the  worlds  of  mineral  and 
plant  existence,  whereas  when  the  hue  brightens  the  monad  is 
relieved  somewhat  of  weight  and  mounts  to  one  or  another  of 
the  more  elevated  spheres,  ascending  perhaps  to  the  human 
kingdom— which  is  situated  on  the  surface  of  the  earth,  the 
middle  plane  of  the  numerously  stratified  universe— or  even  to 
the  higher,  supernal  abodes  of  the  godly  beings.  When,  how- 
ever, the  supreme  state  of  isolation  (kaivtilya)  has  been  attained 
and  the  monad  has  been  purged  absolutely,  relieved  of  every 
ounce  of  karmic  ballast,  then  it  lifts  itself  with  unresisted  buoy- 
ancy beyond  all  the  strata  of  the  six  colors  to  the  zenith,  like 
a  bubble  of  air,  destitute  of  weight.  There  it  abides  above  the 
cycling  flow  of  the  currents  of  life  that  agitate,  one  way  or  an- 
other, all  the  realms  below.  It  has  left  permanently  behind  the 
active  theater  of  the  continually  changing  masks. 

The  metaphor  of  the  bubble  is  one  that  is  used  frequently  in 
the  Jaina  texts.  The  life-monad  rises,  passing  through  the  celes- 
tial regions  of  the  gods  where  radiant  beings  still  burdened  by 
the  weight  of  virtuous  karma  enjoy  the  fruits  of  former  lives  of 
benignant  thought  and  action.  Self-luminous,  transparent,  the 
balloon  ascends  to  the  dome  of  the  world— that  highest  sphere, 
called  "slightly  inclined"  (isat-pragbhara),  which  is  whiter  than 
milk  and  pearls,  more  resplendent  than  gold  and  crystal,  and 
has  the  shape  of  a  divine  umbrella.  Another  metaphor  compares 
the  life-monad  to  a  gourd  that  has  been  made  into  a  flask  or 
bottle;  its  marrow  has  been  removed  and  its  surface  covered 
with  layers  of  clay  to  render  it  the  more  solid.  Such  an  empty 
vessel  if  placed  in  the  water  will  sink  to  the  bottom  because  of 
the  weight  of  the  clay;  but  as  the  covering  slowly  dissolves,  the 
gourd  regains  its  natural  lightness,  and  since  it  is  filled  with  air 
it  becomes  lighter  than  the  water,  rising  automatically  from  the 
bottom  to  the  surface  of  the  pond.  With  just  such  an  automatic 
movement,  the  life-monad,  once  rid  of  karmic  substance,  rises 
from  the  depths  of  its  imprisonment— this  submarine  world  of 


die  coating  layers  and  masks  of  individual  existence.  Divested 
of  the  characteristic  features  of  this  or  that  particular  existence- 
form— the  nature  of  this  or  that  man,  woman,  animal,  or  divine 
being— it  becomes  anonymous,  absolutely  buoyant,  and  abso- 
lutely free. 

The  universe  through  which  the  bubble  or  gourd  ascends  is 
pictured  in  the  form  of  a  colossal  human  being:  a  prodigious 
male  or  female,  whose  macrocosmic  organism  comprises  the 
celestial,  earthly,  and  infernal  regions,  all  of  which  are  peopled 
by  innumerable  beings.*2  The  male  colossus  appeals  to  the 
manly  asceticism  of  the  Jaina  monks  and  saints,  while  the  fe- 
male reflects  an  old  pre-Aryan  concept  of  the  Universal  Mother. 
The  cult  of  the  Mother  Goddess  goes  back  to  the  Neolithic  Age, 
when  it  was  distributed  throughout  western  Asia  and  the  lands 
surrounding  the  Mediterranean.  Images  of  this  goddess  have 
been  found  even  from  the  Paleolithic  period.  And  to  this  day 
her  worship  survives  in  popular  Hinduism.  The  Jaina  concep- 
tion isof  a  piodigious  human  form,  male  or  female,  the  hounds  of 
which  constitute  the  limits  of  the  universe.  The  surface  of  the 
earth,  the  playground  of  the  human  race,  is  regarded  as  situated 
at  the  level  of  the  waist.  The  regions  of  the  hells  are  beneath  this 
plane,  in  the  pelvic  cavity,  thighs,  legs,  and  feet,  while  those  of 
celestial  beatitude,  stratified  one  above  the  other,  fill  the  chest, 
shoulders,  neck,  and  head.8"  The  region  of  supreme  isolation 
(kaivalyn)  is  at  the  crown  of  the  dome  inside  the  hollow  of  the 

82  Compare  the  vision  of  Swedenborg,  supra,  pp.  244-248. 

k;!  There  is.  for  example,  a  class  of  exalted  divine  beings  called  grai- 
veyaka.  "belonging  to  or  dwelling  in  the  neck  (griva)."  CI.  supra,  p.  193. 

M  These  spheres  within  the  body  of  the  macrocosmic  being  are  approxi- 
mately paralleled  (though  not  exactly)  by  the  "centers"  (cakra)  of  the 
human  body  as  described  in  Hatha  Yoga  and  Kundalin!  Yoga  (cf.  infra. 
pp.  584-585).  The  techniques  of  yoga  go  back,  like  the  doctrines  of  the 
Jainas.  to  pre-Aryan  Indian  antiquity.  They  are  not  included  among  the 
original  Vcdic  teachings  of  Brahman-Aryan  orthodoxy. 


After  its  pilgrimage  of  innumerable  existences  in  the  various 
inferior  stratifications,  the  life-monad  rises  to  the  cranial  zone 
of  the  macrocosmic  being,  purged  of  the  weight  o£  the  subtle 
karmic  particles  that  formerly  held  it  down.  Nothing  can  hap- 
pen to  it  any  more;  lor  it  has  put  aside  the  traits  of  ignorance, 
those  heavy  veils  of  individuality  that  are  the  precipitating 
causes  of  biographical  event.  Decisively,  once  and  for  all,  it  has 
broken  free  from  the  vortex.  It  is  now  deathless,  birthless,  sus- 
pended beyond  the  cyclic  law  of  karmic  causation,  like  a  dis- 
tilled drop  ol  water  clinging  to  a  ceiling  or  to  the  underside  of 
the  lid  of  a  boiling  pot.  There,  among  all  the  other  released 
life-monads  clinging  to  the  interior  ol  the  dome  of  the  divine 
World  Being,  it  remains  forever— and  the  monads  in  that  state, 
of  course,  are  all  as  alike  as  so  many  drops.  For  they  are  pure 
particles,  serene  existences,  purged  of  those  imperfections  that 
make  for  individuality.  The  masks,  the  former  personal  fea- 
tures, were  distilled  away,  together  with  the  seed-stuff  that 
would  have  ripened  into  future  experiences.  Sterilized  of  color- 
ing, flavor,  and  weight,  the  sublime  crystals  now  are  absolutely 
pure— like  the  drops  of  rain  that  descend  from  a  clear  sky,  taste- 
less and  immaculate. 

Furthermore,  since  they  have  been  relieved  of  the  faculties 
of  sensation  that  are  inherent  in  all  organisms  (those  diat 
render  sound,  sight,  smell,  taste,  and  touch),  the  released  life- 
monads  are  beyond  the  bounds  of  conditioned  understanding 
which  determine  the  modes  of  being  of  the  various  human, 
animal,  plant,  and  even  inorganic  species.  They  neither  per- 
ceive nor  think,  but  are  aware  of  everything  directly.  They 
know  Truth  precisely  as  it  is.  They  are  omniscient,  as  the  sheer 
life-force  itself  would  be  if  it  could  be  relieved  of  the  modify- 
ing darknesses  of  specific  organisms,  each  with  its  limited  range 
of  sense  and  thinking  faculties.  For  the  moment  the  limitations 
that  make  particular  experiences  possible  are  eliminated,  the 
perfect  intuition  of  everything  knowable  is  immediately  at- 


tained.  The  need  of  experience  is  dissolved  in  infinite  knowl- 
edge.—This  is  the  positive  meaning  of  the  term  and  state  of 

One  is  reminded  of  the  ptotest  of  the  modern  French  poet 
and  philosopher,  Paul  Valcry,  in  his  novel,  Monsieur  Teste. 
"There  are  people,"  he  writes,  "who  feel  that  their  organs  of 
sense  are  cutting  them  off  from  reality  and  essence.  This  feeling 
then  poisons  all  their  sense  perceptions.  What  I  see  blinds  me. 
What  I  hear  makes  me  deal.  What  I  know  makes  me  unknow- 
ing. In  so  far  and  inasmuch  as  I  know,  I  am  ignorant.  This 
light  before  me  is  no  more  than  a  kind  of  blindfold  and  con- 
ceals either  a  darkness  or  a  light  that  is  more.  .  .  .  More  what? 
Here  the  circle  closes  with  a  strange  reversal:  knowledge,  a 
cloud  obscuring  the  essence  of  being:  the  shining  moon,  like 
darkness  or  a  cataract  on  the  eye!  Take  it  all  away,  so  that  I  may 
seel"  "'  This  outcry,  together  with  the  modern  theory  of  knowl- 
edge from  which  it  arises,  is  remarkably  close  to  the  old  idea 
to  which  Jainism  holds:  that  of  the  limiting  force  of  our  various 
faculties  of  human  understanding. 

But  the  TIrtharikarns  have  lost  even  the  faculty  of  feeling: 
for  this  too  belongs  but  to  the  texture  of  the  flesh,  the  suffering 
garment  of  blood  and  nerves.  Hence  they  are  completely  in- 
different to  what  goes  on  in  the  stratified  worlds  that  they  have 
left  beneath  them.  They  are  not  touched  by  any  prayer,  nor 
moved  by  any  act  of  worship.  Neither  do  they  ever  descend  to 

Ks  "II  y  a  clcs  pcrsonnages  qui  sentent  que  leurs  sens  les  s<5parent  du  reel, 
de  1'etre.  Cc  sens  en  cux  infecte  leurs  autres  sens. 

"Ce  que  je  vois  m'avcuglc.  Ce  que  j'entends  m'assourdit.  Ce  en  quoi  je 
sais.  rela  me  rend  ignorant,  {'ignore  en  tant  et  pour  autanc  que  je  sais. 
Cette  illumination  devant  moi  est  un  bandeau  et  recouvre  ou  une  nuit 
ou  une  lumicre  plus.  .  .  .  Plus  quoi?  Ici  le  cercle  se  ferme,  de  cet  errange 
renversement:  la  ronnaissanre.  comme  une  nuage  sur  1'eTre;  le  mond 
brillanl.  comme  une  taie  et  opacity. 

"Ote7  loutc  chose  que  j'y  voie."  (Paul  Valery,  Monsieur  Teste,  nouvelle 
Edition,  Paris,  1946,  pp.  60-61.) 



intervene  in  the  course  of  the  Universal  Round  as  does,  for  ex- 
ample, the  supreme  divinity  of  the  Hindus,  Visnu,  when  he 
sends  down  periodically  a  particle  of  his  transcendent  essence 
as  an  Incarnation  to  restore  the  divine  order  of  the  universe  up- 
set by  reckless  tyrants  and  selfish  demons.88  The  Jaina  Tfrthan- 
karas  are  absolutely  cut  off.  Nevertheless,  the  Jaina  devotee  pays 
them  unceasing  worship,  concentrating  his  pious  attention  upon 
their  images,  as  a  means  to  his  own  progress  in  inner  purifica- 
tion. And  they  are  sometimes  even  celebrated  side  by  side  with 
the  popular  Hindu  household  and  village  gods;  but  never  in 
the  same  spirit.  For  what  the  gods  provide  is  temporal  well- 
being,  warding  away  the  demons  of  disease  and  disaster, 
whereas  the  worship  of  the  TIrtharikaras—  the  "Victors,"  the 
"Heroes,"  the  "Makers  of  the  Crossing"— moves  the  mind  lo  its 
highest  good,  which  is  eternal  peace  beyond  the  joys  as  well  as 
the  sorrows  of  the  universal  round. 

The  Doctrine  of  Maskarin  Gosala 

The  Indian  ascetic  carries  a  staff:  maskara,  danda.  Vedantic 
monks  are  sometimes  called,  therefore,  eka~dan$in,  "those  bear- 
ing one  staff";  but  also  hamsa,  "wild  goose  or  swan"— because 
they  are  wanderers,  like  the  great  birds  that  migrate  from  the 
jungles  of  the  south  to  the  lakes  of  the  Himalayas,  at  home  in 
the  lofty  sky  as  well  as  on  the  water-surfaces  of  the  earthly  plane. 

ftBZinimer,  Myths  and  Symbob  in  Indian  Art  and  Civilization,  index, 
s.v.  "Vishnu:  avatars  of." 



Daudin.  "bearing  a  staff,"  denotes,  in  general,  the  pilgrim 
ascetic  (sainiyatiii).  whether  of  the  Brahman  or  of  the  Jaina  or- 
ders. Buddhist  monks  also  carry  a  staff,  but  theirs  is  named 
khnkkhara;  for  it  is  provided  with  a  set  of  rings  that  produce  a 
monotonous  clattering  (khak),  which  announces  the  approach  of 
the  otherwise  silent  meiiilkant  as  lie  walks  along  the  street  or 
comes  witli  his  begging  bowl  for  his  daily  meal.  The  Buddhist 
monk  never  asks  [or  alms  but  halts  in  silence  on  the  threshold, 
waiting  to  know  whether  he  is  to  be  given  something;  and  when 
the  bowl  is  filled  he  departs— again  without  a  word.  Only  the 
sound  of  his  kliakkhata  is  heard.  And  this  is  the  same  as  the 
sound  of  the  staff  ol  the  Bodhisaltva  named  Ksiti-garbha,  "He 
whose  womb  was  the  earth"  or  "Born  fiom  the  earth."  Ksiti- 
garbha,  with  his  kliakkhata,  wanders  eternally  through  the 
spheies  ol  hell,  combining  the  tortured  beings  and  rescuing 
them  Irom  daikness  by  his  very  presence,  indeed  by  the  very 
sound  of  his  staff/7 

Maskarin  Ciosala  ("Ciosala  of  the  pilgrim  staff")  was  a  contem- 
poraiy  of  Mahavtra  atrd  the  Buddha.  1 1  is  encyclopedic  systemati- 
/ation  of  the  univeise  v\as  akin  to  the  tradition  oi  the  Jainas.  Ap- 
pal ently  t  he  two  dot  1 1  incs  were  related,  being  derived  from  some 
main  tiaditiou  ot  pie-Aryan  natural  science  and  psychology. 
Judging  from  the  evidence  available,  this  must  have  been  a  most 
claboiate,  highly  classificatory  survey  of  all  the  divisions  of  the 
natural  world.  Gosala's  interpretation  of  the  teaching  can  be  re- 
t (instructed  in  its  main  outlines,  and  in  some  of  its  details,  from 
the  reports  and  criticisms  contained  in  the  early  Buddhist  and 
Jaina  texts. 

The  followers  of  this  much-abused  and  freely  slandered 
teacher  were  the  so-called  ajivika— those  professing  the  doctrine 
teimed  a-jwa.  Jlva  is  the  life-monad.  The  prefix  a-  here  signifies 

87  The  concept  of  the  Bodhisaltva  will  be  discussed  at  length,  infra, 

PP-  534-55*- 



"as  long  as."  The  reference  seems  to  be  to  Gosala's  striking  doc- 
trine that  "as  long  as  the  life-monad"  (a-jtva)  has  not  completed 
the  normal  course  of  its  evolution  (running  through  a  fixed 
number  of  inevitable  births)  there  ran  be  no  realization.  The 
natural  biological  advance  cannot  be  hurried  by  means  of  vir- 
tue and  asceticism,  or  delayed  because  of  vice;  for  the  process 
takes  place  in  its  own  good  time.  Apparently  Gosala  at  first 
collaborated  with  Mahavlra.  They  were  the  joint  leaders  of  a 
single  community  for  many  years.  But  they  presently  disagreed 
over  certain  major  points  of  discipline  and  doctrine,  quarreled, 
and  separated,  Gosala  leading  a  movement  of  secession.  His 
following  seems  to  have  been  numerous  and  to  have  represented 
a  considerable  force  in  the  religious  life  of  India  for  many 
years."8  Their  existence  and  importance  as  late  as  the  third  cen- 
tury B.C.  is  rendered  certain  by  a  royal  dedicatory  inscription  on 
the  walls  of  three  rock-cm  caves  of  a  monastery  on  the  Nagar- 
juna  Hill.89  They  were  regarded  as  very  dangerous  by  both  the 
Buddhists  and  the  Jainas. 

Even  while  he  was  alive  Maskarin  Gosala's  enemies  spared  no 
words  in  their  attacks  upon  him.  The  Buddha  himself  is  quoted 
as  having  declared  this  imposing  antagonist's  teaching  to  be  the 
very  worst  of  all  the  contemporary  erroneous  doctrines.  The 
Buddha  compares  it  to  a  hempen  garment— which  not  only  is 
disagreeable  to  the  skin  but  yields  no  protection  against  either 

88  There  is  an  alternate  interpretation  of  the  origin  and  meaning  of 
the  name  ajwika,  which  points  to  this  quarrel  of  the  sects.  Among  the 
various  rules  against  defilement  of  the  saintly  life,  as  defined  by  the  Jainas, 
there  is  one  called  ajlva,  which  forhids  the  monk  to  earn  his  livelihood  in 
any  way.  It  is  said  that  because  the  followers  of  Gosala  took  to  working 
for  their  living,  disregarding  this  djiva  rule,  they  came  to  be  styled  by  the 
Jainas  djlvikas. 

88  Cf.  G.  Biihler,  "The  Barabar  and  Nagarjum  Hill  Cave  Inscriptions 
of  Asoka  and  Dasaratha,"  The  Indian  Antiquary,  XX  (1891),  pp.  g6iff. 


the  cold  ot  winter  or  the  heat  of  summer.""  That  is  to  say,  the 
garment  (the  doctrine)  is  simply  useless.  The  Buddha's  refer- 
ence, specifically,  is  to  the  determinism  of  Gosala's  principal 
tenet,  which  allowed  no  place  for  voluntary  human  effort. 

For  the  Ajlvika  doctrine  that  no  amount  of  moral  or  ascetic 
exertion  would  shorten  the  series  of  rebirths  offered  no  hope 
for  a  speedy  release  from  the  fields  of  ignorance  through  saintly 
exercises.  On  the  contrary,  a  vast  and  comprehensive  review  of 
all  the  kingdoms  and  departments  of  nature  let  it  appear  that 
each  life-monad  was  to  pass,  in  a  series  of  precisely  eighty-four 
thousand  births,  through  the  whole  gamut  of  the  varieties  of 
being,  starting  among  the  elemental  atoms  of  ether,  air,  fire, 
water,  and  earth,  progressing  through  the  graduated  spheres  of 
the  various  geological,  botanical,  and  zoological  forms  of  exist- 
ence, and  coming  finally  into  the  kingdom  of  man,  each  birth 
being  linked  to  the  others  in  conformity  to  a  precise  and  minutely 
graduated  order  of  evolution.  All  the  life-monads  in  the  universe 
were  passing  laboriously  along  this  one  inevitable  way. 

The  living  body  of  the  atom,  according  to  this  system,  is  the 
most  primitive  organism  in  the  cosmos,  being  provided  with 
but  one  sense-faculty,  that  of  touch,  i.e.,  the  sensation  of  weight 
and  pressure.  This  is  the  state  in  which  each  life-monad  (jiva) 
takes  its  start.  As  it  then  progresses,  bodies  come  to  it  endowed 
with  more  sense-faculties  and  with  higher  powers  of  intellect 
and  feeling.  Rising  naturally  and  of  itself,  it  passes  through  the 
long  slow  course  of  transmigrations  into  the  various  conditions 
of  the  vegetables,  the  lower  and  then  the  higher  stages  of  animal 
life,  and  the  numerous  levels  of  the  human  sphere.  When  the 
time  at  last  arrives,  and  the  final  term  of  the  series  of  eighty-four 
thousand  existences  has  been  attained,  release  simply  happens, 
just  as  everything  else  has  happened-of  itself. 

••  Ariguttara  Nikaya  i.  286.  (Translated  by  T.  W.  Rhys  Davids,  The 
Gradual  Dialogues  of  the  Buddha,  Pali  Text  Society,  Translation  Series 
no.  22,  London,  1932,  p.  265.) 



The  destiny  of  man  is  framed  by  a  rigid  law,  that  of  the  evo- 
lution of  the  life-monad.  Gosala  compares  the  long  automatic 
ascent  to  the  course  of  a  ball  of  thread  thrown  through  the  air 
which  runs  out  to  its  very  last  bit:  the  curve  ends  only  when 
the  thread  is  entirely  unwound.  No  divine  grace  or  human 
zeal  can  interrupt  or  interfere  with  this  unalterable  principle 
of  bondage,  evolution,  and  release.  It  is  a  law  that  knits  all  life, 
links  apparently  lifeless  elemental  matter  to  the  kingdoms  of  the 
insects  and  of  man,  runs  through  all  things,  puts  on  and  lays 
aside  the  whole  wardrobe  of  the  masks  or  garbs  of  incarnation, 
and  will  not  be  forced,  hurried,  cheated,  or  denied. 

This  is  a  vision  of  an  all-embracing,  gloomy  grandeur,  a  cool 
scientific  outlook  on  the  universe  and  its  creatures,  impressive 
through  its  utter  self-consistency.  The  melancholy  of  the  realm 
of  nature  is  tempered  by  no  ray  of  redeeming  light.  On  the  con- 
trary, this  stupendous  cosmic  view  depresses  the  spirit  through 
the  merciless  coherence  of  its  complete  disregard  for  the  hopes 
intrinsic  to  the  human  soul.  Absolutely  no  concession  is  made 
to  man's  wishful  thinking,  absolutely  no  adjustment  to  our  in- 
born awareness  of  a  possible  freedom. 

Jainism  and  Buddhism,  on  the  other  hand,  the  successful 
contemporary  rivals,  agree  in  stressing  the  possibility  of  an  ac- 
celerated release  from  the  cycle  as  a  consequence  of  effort.  Both 
protest  equally  against  the  mechanistic  inflexibility  of  Gosala's 
law  of  evolution,  in  so  far  as  it  touches  the  sphere  of  human 
will.  The  Buddha,  for  example,  is  most  emphatic.  "There  exists," 
says  he,  "a  'heroic  effort'  (viryam)  in  man;  there  exists  the  pos- 
sibility of  a  'successful  exertion'  (utsaha)  aimed  at  the  disen- 
gaging of  man  from  the  vortex  of  rebirths— provided  he  strives 
wholeheartedly  for  this  end."  "  Gosala's  solemn  scientific  pan- 
orama, excluding  as  it  does  all  freedom  of  the  will,  converts  the 

91  Editor's  note:  Many  statements  in  praise  of  effort  and  exertion  appear 
in  the  Buddhist  scriptures.  I  have  not  located,  however,  the  passage  cited 
here  by  Dr.  Zimmer. 



whole  universe  into  a  vast  purgatory  of  numerous  long-lasting 
stages.  Creation  becomes  a  kind  ol  cosmic  laboratory  in  which 
innumerable  monads,  by  a  long,  slow,  alchemical  process 
of  transformation,  become  gradually  refined,  enriched,  and 
cleansed;  passing  lrom  darker,  lower  modes  of  being  to  higher- 
passing  through  sufferings  ever  renewed-until  at  last  they  stand 
endowed  with  moral  disci  iminalion  and  spiritual  insight,  in 
human  form,  at  the  threshold  of  release. 

One  can  understand  why  such  a  philosophy  vanished  from 
the  historical  scene  after  a  lew  centuries.  It  proved  to  be  un- 
bearable. Teaching  a  fatalistic  patience  in  a  virtually  endless 
bondage,  demanding  resignation  without  compensation,  conced- 
ing nothing  to  moral  and  spiritual  will-power,  it  simply  offered 
no  answer  (o  the  burning  questions  ol  the  seeking,  empty  hu- 
man soul.  It  lelt  no  place  for  the  piacticc  of  virtue  with  the  nor- 
ma] human  aim  of  winning  some  reward,  offered  no  field  for 
the  exercise  of  will-power,  and  no  reason  lor  making  life-plans, 
gave  no  hope  for  compensation,  the  only  source  of  purification 
being  the  natural  process  of  evolution;  and  that  simply  took 
time— eons  of  time— proceeding  slowly  and  automatically,  re- 
gardless of  man's  inward  effort,  like  a  biochemical  process. 

And  yet,  according  to  this  "hempen  shirt"  doctrine  of  Gosala, 
man's  moral  conduct  is  not  without  significance;  for  every  living 
being,  through  its  characteristic  pattern  of  reactions  to  the  en- 
vironment, betrays  its  entire  multibiographical  history,  to- 
gether with  all  that  it  has  yet  to  learn.  Its  acts  are  not  the  cause 
of  the  influx  (fisroiw)  of  fresh  karmic  substance,  as  in  the  Jain.i 
view,  but  only  reveal  its  position  or  classification  in  the  general 
hierarchy,  showing  how  deeply  entangled  or  close  to  release  it 
happens  to  be.  Our  words  and  deeds,  that  is  to  say,  announce 
to  ourselves— and  to  the  world— every  minute,  just  what  mile- 
stone we  have  come  to.  Thus  perfect  asceticism,  though  it  has 
no  causative,  has  yet  a  symptomatic  value:  it  is  the  characteristic 
mode  of  life  of  a  being  who  is  on  the  point  of  reaching  the  goal 


of  isolation  (kaivalya);  and  conversely,  those  who  are  not  readily 
drawn  to  it  are  comparatively  low  in  the  human  scale.  Any  pro- 
nounced inability  to  conform  to  the  most  advanced  ascetic 
standards  simply  proclaims  how  woefully  far  one  stands  from 
the  summit  of  the  cosmic  social  climb. 

Pious  acts,  then,  arc  not  the  causes,  but  the  effects;  they  do 
not  bring,  but  they  foretell  release.  The  perfect  ascetic  shows 
through  the  detached  austerity  of  his  conduct  that  he  is  the 
being  nearest  to  the  exit.  He  shows  that  he  has  all  but  com- 
pleted the  long  course  and  is  now  absolutely  unwavering  in  his 
exalted  unconcern  both  for  himself  and  for  the  world— indiffer- 
ent alike  to  what  the  world  thinks  of  him,  to  what  he  is,  and  to 
what  he  is  about  to  be. 

It  is  not  difficult  to  imagine  what  a  state  of  impotent  self- 
annoyance  this  philosophy  would  cause  in  those  human  beings 
somewhat  below  the  supreme  condition,  still  ambitious  for  the 
world's  supreme  regard. 

Man  against  Nature 

Jainism  agrees  completely  with  Gosala  as  to  the  masklike 
character  of  the  personality.  Whether  in  the  shape  of  element, 
plant,  animal,  man,  celestial  being,  or  tormented  inmate  of  hell, 
the  visible  form  is  but  the  temporary  garb  of  an  inhabiting  life, 
which  is  working  its  way  through  the  stages  of  existence  to- 
ward a  goal  of  release  from  the  whole  affair.  Apparently  this  de- 
piction of  the  transient  forms  of  life  as  so  many  masks  taken  on 


and  laid  aside  by  an  innumerable  host  of  individual  life-monads 
— the  monads  themselves  constituting  the  very  matter  of  the  uni- 
veise— was  one  ol  the  major  tenets  of  the  pre-Aryan  philos- 
ophy ol  india.  It  is  basic  to  the  Saiikhya  psychology  as  well  as 
to  Patarijali's  Yoga,  and  was  the  starting  point  of  the  Buddhist 
teachings.1"  Absorbed  into  the  Brahman  tradition,  it  became 
blended  with  other  ideas;  so  that  even  today  in  India  it  remains 
.is  one  of  the  fundamental  figures  of  all  philosophical,  religious, 
and  metaphysical  thought.  Jainism  and  the  doctrine  ol  Gosala 
thus  may  be  regarded  as  specimens  of  the  way  in  which  the 
Indian  mind,  outside  the  pale  of  lirahman  orthodoxy,  and  ac- 
cording to  the  patterns  of  an  archaic  mode  of  thought  rooted  in 
the  Indian  soil,  has  from  time  immemorial  experienced  the  phe- 
nomenon of  personality.  In  contrast  to  the  Occidental  idea  of 
the  everlasting  individual,  as  conceived  by  the  Greeks  and 
passed  on  to  Christianity  and  modern  man,  in  the  land  of  the 
Buddha  the  personality  has  always  been  regarded  as  a  transitory 

But  Jainism,  like  Buddhism,  disagrees  with  Gosala's  fatalistic 
interpretation  of  the  graduated  roles  of  the  play,  asserting  that 
each  human  individual  is  tree  to  make  his  own  escape.  By  a  sus- 
tained act  of  self-renunciation  one  can  elude  this  melancholy 
bondage— which  is  equivalent  practically  to  an  eternal  punish- 
ment and  is  out  of  all  proportion  to  whatever  guilt  can  possibly 
appertain  to  the  mere  fact  of  being  alive.  Gosala's  strictly  evo- 
lutionary interpretation  is  rejected  on  the  grounds  of  the  re- 
peated experience  of  actual  release  by  perfected  holy  men 
throughout  the  ages.  Those  masterly  teachers  began,  like  Ma- 
havlra,  by  joining  the  saintly  order  of  the  Jaina  monks,  and 
ended  as  the  models  of  salvation.  They  offer  us  in  their  own 
lives  our  prime  guarantee  of  the  possibility  of  release,  as  well 
as  an  example  of  how  the  narrow  exit  is  to  be  passed.  Instead 
•sCf.  supra,  p.  60.  Editor's  note,  and  discussions  infra.  Chapters  II 
and  IV. 



of  Gosala's  mechanistic  biological  order,  slowly  but  automati- 
cally working  through  the  eighty-four  thousand  incarnations, 
Jainism  thus  asserts  the  power  and  value  oi  the  morale  of  the 
individual:  the  force  of  thoughts,  words,  and  deeds,  which,  it 
virtuous,  stainless,  and  unselfish,  lead  the  lilc-monad  to  en- 
lightenment, but  if  bad,  egocentric,  and  unconsidered,  iling  it 
back  into  the  darker,  more  primitive  conditions,  dooming  it  to 
an  existence  in  the  animal  kingdom  or  to  lives  among  the  tor- 
tured inmates  of  the  hells. 

Nevertheless,  Jainism,  too,  represents  a  scientific,  practically 
atheistic,  interpretation  of  existence.  For  the  gods  are  nothing 
but  life-monads,  wearing  temporarily  favorable  masks  in  su- 
premely fortunate  surroundings,  whereas  the  material  universe 
is  uncreated  and  everlasting.  The  universe  is  composed  of  six 
constituents,  as  follows: 

1.  Jlva:  the  aggregate  of  the  countless  life-monads.  Each  is 
uncreated  and  imperishable,  by  nature  omniscient,  endowed 
with  infinite  energy,  and  full  of  bliss.  Intrinsically  the  life- 
monads  are  all  absolutely  alike,  but  they  have  been  modified, 
diminished,  and  tainted  in  their  perfection,  through  the  per- 
petual influx  of  the  second  and  opposite  constituent  of  the 
universe,  namely: 

2.  Ajlva:  "all  that  is  not  (a-)  the  life-monad  {jlva)"  m  A  jlva 
is,  firstly,  space  (akaia).  This  is  regarded  as  an  all-comprehend- 
ing container,  enclosing  not  only  the  universe  {loka),  but  also 
the  non-universe  (aloka).  The  latter  is  what  lies  beyond  the 
contours  of  the  colossal  Macrocosmic  Man  or  Woman."  Ajlva 
comprises,  moreover,  countless  space-units  (,  and  is  in- 
destructible. Besides  being  space,  however,  ajlva  is  also  manifest 
as  all  four  of  the  following  constituents  of  the  world,  which  arc 

68  This  elementary  dichotomy  of  jlva— ajlva  is  carried  on  in  the  Sankhya 
philosophy  under  the  categories  purum—prakrti.  Prakrti  is  the  matter  of 
the  universe,  the  psychic-and-physical  material  that  enwraps  puru$a. 

»*  Cf.  supra,  p.  S59. 



distinguished  as  the  several  aspects  of  this  single  antagonist  to 
the  jlva. 

3.  Dharma:  the  medium  through  which  movement  is  possi- 
ble. Dharma  is  compared  to  water,  through  and  by  which  fish 
are  able  to  move." 

4.  Adharma:  the  medium  that  makes  rest  and  immobility 
possible.  Adharma  is  compared  to  earth,  on  which  creatures  lie 
and  stand. 

5.  Kala:  time;  that  which  makes  changes  possible. 

6.  l'udgala:  matter,  composed  of  minute  atoms  (paramanu). 
Purigala  is  endued  with  odor,  color,  taste,  and  tangibility. 

Matter  exists,  according  to  the  Jainas,  in  six  degrees  of  den- 
sity: a)  "subtle-subtle"  (suksma-suksma),  which  is  the  invisible 
substance  of  the  atoms;  b)  "subtle"  (suksma),  invisible  also,  and 
the  substance  of  the  ingredients  of  karma;  c)  "subtle-gross" 
(suksma-sthula),  invisible  and  yet  experienced,  constituting  the 
material  of  sounds,  smells,  touch  (e.g.,  of  the  wind),  and  flavors; 
d)  "gross-subtle"  (sthula-suksma),  which  is  visible  yet  impossible 
to  grasp— e.g.,  sunshine,  darkness,  shadow;  c)  "gross"  (sthiila), 
which  is  both  visible  and  tangible  but  liquid,  as  water,  oil,  and 
melted  butter;  and  f)  "gross-gross"  (sthula-sthula):  the  material 
objects  that  have  distinct  and  separate  existences,  such  as  metal, 
wood,  and  stone. 

Karmic  matter  clings  to  the  jlva,  as  dust  to  a  body  anointed 
with  oil.  Or  it  pervades  and  tinges  the  jiva,  as  heat  a  red-hot 
iron  ball.  It  is  described  as  of  eight  kinds,  according  to  its  effects, 
a)  The  karma  that  enwraps  or  screens  true  knowledge  (jnana- 
avarana-karma).  Like  a  veil  or  cloth  over  the  image  of  a  divinity, 
this  karma  comes  between  the  mind  and  the  truth,  taking  away, 
as  it  were,  inborn  omniscience,  b)  The  karma  that  enwraps  or 
screens  true  perception  (dariana-avarana-karma).  Like  a  door- 
keeper warding  people  from  the  presence  of  the  king  in  his 
•B  This  specifically  Jaina  use  of  the  term  dharma  is,  of  course,  not  to  be 
confused  with  that  discussed  supra,  pp.  151-177. 


audience-hall,  this  karma  interferes  with  the  perception  of  the 
processes  of  the  universe,  making  it  difficult  or  impossible  to  see 
what  is  going  on;  thus  it  veils  its  own  operation  on  the  jiva. 
c)  The  karma  that  creates  pleasant  and  unpleasant  feelings 
(vedanlya-karma).  This  is  compared  to  the  edge  of  a  keen  sword- 
blade  smeared  with  honey  and  put  into  the  mouth.  Because  of 
this  karma  all  our  experiences  of  life  are  compounded  of  pleas- 
ure and  pain,  d)  The  karma  that  causes  delusion  and  confusion 
(mohanlya-karma).  Like  liquor,  this  karma  dulls  and  dazzles  the 
faculties  of  discrimination  between  good  and  evil.  (The  kevalin, 
the  "isolated  one,"  cannot  be  intoxicated.  Perfect  enlighten- 
ment is  a  state  of  supreme  and  sublime  sobriety.)  e)  The  karma 
that  determines  the  length  of  the  individual  life  (aym-karrna). 
Like  a  rope  that  prevents  an  animal  from  going  on  indefinitely 
beyond  the  peg  to  which  it  is  tied,  this  karma  fixes  the  number 
of  one's  days.  It  determines  the  life-capital,  the  life-strength,  to 
be  spent  during  the  present  incarnation,  f)  The  karma  that  es- 
tablishes individuality  (nama-karma).  This  is  the  determinant 
of  the  "name"  (namari),  which  denotes,  in  the  "subtle-gross"  form 
of  sound,  the  mental-spiritual  principle,  or  essential  idea,  of  the 
thing.  The  name  is  the  mental  counterpart  of  the  visible,  tangi- 
ble form  (rupa) B0— that  is  why  magic  can  be  worked  with 
names  and  verbal  spells.  This  is  the  karma  that  determines  to 
the  last  detail  both  the  outward  appearance  and  the  inward 
character  of  the  object,  animal,  or  person.  It  is  the  fashioner  of 
the  present  perishable  mask.  Its  work  is  so  comprehensive  that 
the  lainas  have  analyzed  it  into  ninety-three  subdivisions. 
Whether  one's  next  incarnation  is  to  be  in  the  heavens,  among 
men  or  animals,  or  in  the  purgatories;  whether  one  is  to  be  en- 
dowed with  five  or  with  fewer  receptive  senses;  whether  one  is 
to  belong  to  some  class  of  beings  with  charming,  dignified  gait 
and  carriage  (such  as  bulls,  elephants,  and  geese)  or  with  ugly 
(such  as  camels  and  asses),  with  movable  ears  and  eyes,  or  with 
M  Cf.  supra,  pp.  23-24. 



immovable;  whether  one  is  to  be  beautiful  or  ugly  of  one's 
kind,  commanding  sympathy  or  inspiring  disgust,  winning 
honor  and  fame  or  suffering  ill-repute:  all  of  these  details  are 
determined  by  this  "karma  of  the  proper  name."  Nama-karma 
is  like  the  painter  filling  in  with  his  brush  the  distinguishing 
features  of  a  portrait,  making  the  figure  recognizable  and  quite 
particular,  g)  The  karma  that  establishes  the  family  into  which 
the  individual  is  to  be  born  (gotra-karma).  This,  properly, 
should  be  a  subdivision  of  the  above,  but  owing  to  the  enor- 
mous importance  of  the  circumstance  of  caste  in  India  it  has 
been  given  the  weight  of  a  special  category.  Destiny  and  all  the 
prospects  of  life  are  limited  greatly  by  the  house  into  which 
one  is  born,  h)  The  karma  that  produces  obstacles  (antardya- 
karma).  Within  this  category  a  number  of  subdivisions  are  de- 
scribed, i.  Ddna-antardya-karma:  this  prevents  us  from  being  as 
self-detached  and  munificent  in  the  bestowal  of  alms  on  holy 
people  and  the  poor  as  we  should  like  to  be.  ii.  Ldbha-antardya- 
karma:  this  keeps  us  from  receiving  alms— a  particularly  nasty 
karma,  since  holy  men  depend  on  gifts,  as  do  all  religious  insti- 
tutions. (In  the  West,  for  example,  a  university  afflicted  with 
this  bad  influence  would  be  forced  to  close  for  lack  of  funds.) 
iii.  Bhoga-antaraya-karma:  this  keeps  us  from  enjoying  events. 
We  arrive  late  for  the  party.  Or  while  we  are  eating  the  cake 
we  keep  wishing  that  we  could  keep  it  too.  iv.  Ujiablioga- 
antardya-karma:  as  a  result  of  this  frustration  we  are  unable  to 
enjoy  the  pleasurable  objects  that  are  continually  around— our 
houses,  gardens,  fine  clothes,  and  women,  v.  Virya-antaraya- 
karma:  as  a  result  of  which  we  cannot  bring  ourselves  to  act: 
there  is  a  paralysis  of  the  will. 

In  all,  exactly  one  hundred  and  forty-eight  varieties  and 
effects  of  karma  are  described,  and  these  work,  in  sum,  in  two 
directions.  1.  Ghdti-karma  ("striking,  wounding,  killing  karma") 
subtracts  from  the  infinite  powers  of  the  life-monad,  and  2. 
aghati-karma  ("non-striking  karma")  adds  limiting  qualities 


which  do  not  properly  belong  to  it.  All  of  these  karmic  diffi- 
culties have  been  afflicting  jlva  from  eternity.  The  Jaina  system 
requires  no  explanation  of  the  beginning  of  it  all,  since  there 
is  no  notion  of  a  time  when  time  was  not:  the  world  has  always 
existed.  The  concern,  furthermore,  is  not  the  beginning  of  the 
muddle,  but  the  determination  of  its  nature  and  the  application 
of  a  technique  to  clear  it  up. 

Bondage  consists  in  the  union  of  jiva  with  ajlva,  salvation  in 
the  dissolution  of  the  combination.  This  problem  of  conjunc- 
tion and  disjunction  is  expressed  by  the  Jainas  in  a  statement 
of  seven  tallvas  or  "principles." 

1.  Jlva,  and  2.  Ajlva:  these  have  already  been  discussed.  Ajtva 
includes  categories  2-6  of  the  Six  Constitutents  that  we  have  just 

3.  Asrava:  "influx,"  the  pouring  of  karmic  matter  into  the 
life-monad.  This  takes  place  through  forty-two  channels,  among 
which  arc  the  five  recipient  sense-faculties,  the  three  activities 
of  mind,  speech,  physical  action,  the  four  passions  of  wrath, 
pride,  guile,  and  gteed,  and  the  six  "non-passions"  known  as 
mirth,  pleasure,  distress,  grief,  fear,  and  disgust.07 

4.  Bandha:  "bondage,"  the  fettering  and  smothering  of  jiva 
by  karmic  matter. 

5.  Samvara:  "stoppage,"  the  checking  of  the  influx. 

6.  Nirjard:  "shedding,"  the  elimination  of  karmic  matter  by 
means  of  cleansing  austerities,  burning  it  out  with  the  internal 
heat  of  ascetic  practices  (tapas),  as  by  a  sweating  cure. 

97  These  six,  together  with  two  others— resolution  and  wonder— are  the 
basic  moods  or  "flavors"  (rasa)  of  Hindu  poetry,  dance,  and  acting.  They 
are  all  exhibited  by  Siva,  the  Highest  God,  in  the  various  situations  of  his 
mythical  manifestations,  and  thus  are  sanctified  in  devotional  Hinduism 
as  aspects  of  the  Lord's  "cosmic  play,"  revelations  of  his  divine  energy 
under  various  modes.  According  to  Jainism,  on  the  other  hand,  they  are 
to  be  suppressed,  since  they  attract  and  increase  the  store  of  karmic  matter 
and  thereby  distract  one  from  the  perfect  indifference  that  conduces  to 
the  purification  of  the  life-monad. 



7.  Moksa:  "release." 

"JIva  and  non-jiva  together  constitute  the  universe,"  we  read 
in  a  Jaina  text.  "If  they  are  separate,  nothing  more  is  needed. 
It  they  are  united,  as  they  are  found  to  be  in  the  world,  the 
stoppage  and  the  gradual  and  then  final  destruction  of  the 
union  are  the  only  possible  ways  of  considering  them."  °8 

The  Jaina  universe  itself  is  indestructible,  not  subject  to 
periodical  dissolutions  like  that  of  the  Hindu  cosmology.00  Fur- 
thermore, there  is  no  hinl  of  that  primal,  world  generative 
sacred  marriage  of  Father  Heaven  and  Mother  larth  which 
constitutes  a  major  theme  in  the  tradition  of  the  Vedas.  In  the 
great  Horse  Sacrifice  (asvamedha)  of  the  ancient  Indo-Aryans, 
when  the  chief  queen  as  representative  of  Mother  Earth,  the 
spouse  of  the  world-monarch  (cakravartin),  lay  down  in  the 
sacrificial  pit  beside  the  slaughtered  animal  that  was  symbolic 
of  heaven's  solar  forte  (the  horse  having  just  ended  its  tri- 
umphant solar  year  of  untrammelcd  wandering),'"0  that  act  of 
the  queen  was  the  mystical  rcconstitution  of  the  sacred  cosmic 
marriage.  But  in  Jainism  the  primal  male  (or  the  primal  female) 
is  the  universe.  There  is  no  history  of  a  gestatory  coming  into 
existence,  no  "golden  germ"  (hiranyagarbha),  no  cosmic  egg 
which  divides  into  the  upper  and  lower  half-shells  of  heaven 
and  earth,  no  sacrificed  and  dismembered  primeval  being 
(purusa),  whose  limbs,  blood,  hair,  etc.,  become  transformed 
into  the  constituents  of  the  world;  in  short,  no  myth  of  crea- 
tion, for  the  universe  has  always  been.  The  Jaina  universe  is 
sterile,  patterned  on  an  ascetic  doctrine.  It  is  an  all-containing 
world-mother  without  a  mate,  or  a  lonely  man-giant  without 
female  consort;  and  this  primeval  person  is  forever  whole 
and  alive.  The  so-called  "up-going"  and  "down-going"  world- 

"s  Talfnarlhdtlhigama-sulra  4.  (Sacred  Books  of  the  Jainas,  Vol.  II,  p.  7.) 
00  Cf.  Zimmer,  Myths  and  Symbols,  pp.  3-22. 
100  Cf.  supra,  pp.  134-135. 



cycles  iin  aie  the  tides  of  this  being's  life-process,  continuous  and 
everlasting.  We  are  all  the  particles  of  that  gigantic  body,  and 
for  each  the  task  is  to  keep  from  being  carried  down  to  the  in- 
fernal regions  ot  the  lower  body,  but,  on  the  contrary,  to 
ascend  as  speedily  as  possible  to  the  supreme  bliss  of  the  peace- 
ful dome  of  the  prodigious  skull. 

This  is  an  idea  obviously  contrary  to  the  cosmic  vision  of  the 
Brahman  seers,  and  yet  it  came  to  play  a  great  role  in  later 
Hinduism  102— specifically,  in  the  myths  of  Visnu  Anantasayin, 
the  giant  divine  dreamer  of  the  world,  who  bears  the  universe 
in  his  belly,  lets  it  flower  as  a  lotus  from  his  navel,  and  takes  it 
back  again  into  his  cxerlasting  substance.1"8  Equally  prominent 
is  the  Hindu  female  counterpart,  the  all-containing  Goddess 
Mother,  who  brings  all  beings  forth  from  her  universal  womb, 
nourishes  them,  and,  devouring  them  again,  takes  everything 
hack.101  Those  figures  have  been  adapted  in  Hinduism  to  the 
Vedic  myth  of  the  Cosmic  Marriage,  but  the  incompatibility  of 
the  two  sets  of  symbols  still  is  evident;  for  though  the  world  of 
creatures  is  described  as  being  born,  it  is  also  described  as  con- 
stituting the  body  of  the  divine  being,  whereas  in  the  Jaina 
vision  there  is  no  such  incongruity  since  the  jivas  are  the  atoms 
of  life  that  circulate  through  the  cosmic  organism.  An  omniscient 
all-seeing  seer  and  saint  (kevalin)  can  actually  watch  the  process 
of  unending  metabolism  taking  place  throughout  the  frame, 
observing  the  cells  in  their  continual  transmutations;  for  his 
individual  consciousness  has  been  broadened  to  such  a  degree 
that  it  corresponds  to  the  infinite  consciousness  of  the  giant  uni- 
versal being.  With  his  inward  spiritual  eye  he  beholds  the  life- 
atoms,  infinite  in   number,  circulating  continually,  each  en- 

101  Supra,  p.  224,  note  44. 

102  For  the  term  "Hinduism,"  as  distinct  from  "Brahman ism,"  cf.  supra, 
p.  77,  note  35. 

108  Zimmcr,  Myths  and  Symbols,  pp.  35-53. 
"*/6.,  pp.  189-216. 



dowed  with  its  own  lire-duration,  bodily  strength,  and  breathing 
power,  as  it  goes  about  perpetually  inhaling  and  exhaling. 

The  life-monads  on  the  elemental  le\cl  of  existence  (in  the 
states  of  ether,  air,  fire,  water,  and  earth)  are  provided  with  the 
faculty  of  touch  (sparsa-indriya).  All  feci  and  respond  to  pres- 
sure, being  themselves  provided  with  minute  extension,  and 
they  are  known  therefore  as  ekendriya,  "provided  with  one 
(eka)  sense-faculty  (indriya)."  The  atoms  ol  the  vegetables  also 
are  endowed  with  one  sense-faculty  (the  sense  of  touch),  though 
with  four  life-breaths  (they  lack  speech-power).  Such  mute,  one- 
sense  existences  are  no  less  the  masks  or  garbs  of  jlvas  than  the 
more  complex  forms  of  the  animal,  human,  and  celestial  king- 
doms. This  the  kevalin  knows  and  sees  by  virtue  of  his  universal 
consciousness.  He  also  knows  and  sees  that  the  faculties  of  the 
higher  beings  are  ten:  1.  life-force  or  duration  (ayus),  2.  bodily 
strength,  substance,  weight,  tension,  and  resilience  (kfiya-bala). 
3.  speech-power,  the  power  to  make  a  sound  (vacana-bala),  4. 
reasoning  power  (manobala),  5.  breathing  power  (anapana- 
prana,  Svasocchvdsa-prana),  and  6.-10.  the  five  receptive  senses 
of  touch  (spariendriya),  taste  (rasendriya),  smell  (ghranendriya), 
sight  (caksurindriya),  and  hearing  (sravayendriya).  Some  vege- 
tables, such  as  trees,  are  provided  with  a  collectivity  of  jlvas. 
They  impart  separate  jlvas  to  their  branches,  twigs,  and  fruits; 
for  you  can  plant  a  fruit,  or  slip  a  cutting,  and  it  will  grow  into 
an  individual  being.  Others,  such  as  onions,  have  a  single  jiva 
common  to  a  number  of  separate  stems.  Minute  animals,  worms, 
insects,  and  Crustacea,  which  represent  the  next  level  of  devel- 
oped living  organization,  have,  besides  life-duration,  bodily 
strength,  breathing  power  and  the  sense  of  touch,  speech- 
power  or  the  power  to  make  a  sound  (vacana-bala),  and  the 
sense  of  taste  (rasendriya).  Their  life-duration  falls  within  the 
span  of  twelve  years,  whereas  that  of  the  preceding  classes  greatly 
varies.  That  of  the  fire-atom,  for  example,  may  be  a  moment 
(samaya)  or  seventy-two  hours;  that  of  a  water-atom,  a  couple  of 


moments  (one  to  forty-eight)  or  seven  thousand  years;  that  of 
an  air-atom,  one  moment  or  three  thousand  years. 

This  elaborate  systematization  of  the  forms  of  life,  which  the 
Jainas  share  with  Gosala,  is  based  on  the  distribution  of  the  ten 
faculties  among  the  various  beings,  from  the  living  elemental 
atoms  to  the  organisms  of  men  and  gods.  The  systematization  is 
anything  but  primitive.  It  is  quaint  and  archaic  indeed,  yet 
pedantic  and  extremely  subtle,  and  represents  a  fundamentally 
scientific  conception  of  the  world.  In  fact  one  is  awed  by  the 
glimpse  that  it  gives  of  the  long  history  of  human  thought— a 
view  much  longer  and  more  imposing  than  the  one  that  is  cher- 
ished by  our  Western  humanists  and  academic  historians  with 
their  little  story  about  the  Greeks  and  the  Renaissance.  The 
twenty-fourth  Jaina  Tirlharikara,  Mahavira,  was  roughly  a  con- 
temporary of  Thales  and  Anaxagoras,  the  earliest  of  the  stand- 
ard line  of  Greek  philosophers;  and  yet  the  subtle,  complex, 
thoroughgoing  analysis  and  classification  of  the  features  of  na- 
ture which  Mahavlra's  teaching  took  for  granted  and  upon 
which  it  played  was  already  centuries  (perhaps  even  millen- 
niums) old.  It  was  a  systematization  that  had  long  done  away 
with  the  hosts  of  powerful  gods  and  the  wizard-magic  of  the 
still  earlier  priestly  tradition— which  itself  had  been  as  far  above 
the  really  primitive  level  of  human  culture  as  are  the  arts  of 
agriculture,  herding,  and  dairying  above  those  of  hunting  and 
fishing,  root  and  berry  gathering.  The  world  was  already  old, 
very  wise  and  very  learned,  when  the  speculations  of  the  Greeks 
produced  the  texts  that  are  studied  in  our  universities  as  the  first 
chapters  of  philosophy. 

According  to  the  archaic  science  the  whole  cosmos  was  alive, 
and  the  basic  laws  of  its  life  were  constant  throughout.  One 
should  therefore  practice  "non-violence"  (ahithsa)  even  upon 
the  smallest,  mutest,  least  conscious  living  being.  The  Jaina 
monk,  for  example,  avoids  as  far  as  possible  the  squeezing  or 
touching  of  the  atoms  of  the  elements.  He  cannot  cease  breath- 


ing,  but  to  avoid  giving  possible  harm  he  should  wear  a  veil 
before  his  mouth:  this  softens  the  impact  of  the  air  against  the 
inside  of  the  throat.  And  he  must  not  snap  his  fingers  or  fan 
the  wind;  for  that  disturbs  and  causes  damage.  If  wicked  people 
on  a  ferryboat  should  for  some  reason  throw  a  Jaina  monk 
overboard,  he  must  not  try  to  make  for  shore  with  violent,  Bail- 
ing strokes,  like  a  valiant  swimmer,  but  should  gently  drift, 
like  a  log,  and  permit  the  currents  to  bring  him  gradually  to 
land:  he  must  not  upset  and  injure  the  water-atoms.  And  he 
should  then  permit  the  moisture  to  drip  or  evaporate  from  his 
skin,  neveT  wipe  it  off  or  shake  it  away  with  a  violent  commo- 
tion of  his  limbs. 

Non-violence  (ahithsa)  is  thus  carried  to  an  extreme.  The 
Jaina  sect  survives  as  a  sort  of  extremely  fundamentalist  vestige 
in  a  civilization  that  has  gone  through  many  changes  since  the 
remote  age  when  this  universal  piety  and  universal  science  of 
the  world  of  nature  and  of  escape  from  it  came  into  existence. 
Even  Jaina  lay  folk  must  be  watchful  lest  they  cause  unneces- 
sary inconvenience  to  their  fellow  beings.  They  must,  for  ex- 
ample, not  drink  water  after  dark;  for  some  small  insect  may 
be  swallowed.  They  must  not  cat  meat  of  any  kind,  or  kill  bugs 
that  fly  about  and  annoy;  credit  may  be  gained,  indeed,  by  al- 
lowing the  bugs  to  settle  and  have  their  fill.  All  of  which  has 
led  to  the  following  most  bizarre  popular  custom,  which  may 
be  observed  even  today  in  the  metropolitan  streets  of  Bombay. 

Two  men  come  along  carrying  between  them  a  light  cot  or 
bed  alive  with  bedbugs.  They  stop  before  the  door  of  a  Jaina 
household,  and  cry:  "Who  will  feed  the  bugs?  Who  will  feed  the 
bugs?"  If  some  devout  lady  tosses  a  coin  from  a  window,  one  of 
the  criers  places  himself  carefully  in  the  bed  and  offers  himself 
as  a  living  grazing  ground  to  his  fellow  beings.  Whereby  the  lady 
of  the  house  gains  the  credit,  and  the  hero  of  the  cot  the  coin. 



Kapila  and  Pataiijali 

Now  let  us  proceed  to  Sarikhya  and  Yoga.  These  two  are  re- 
garded in  India  as  twins,  the  two  aspects  of  a  single  discipline. 
Sarikhya  provides  a  basic  theoretical  exposition  of  human  na- 
ture, enumerating  and  defining  its  elements,  analyzing  their 
manner  of  co-operation  in  the  stale  of  bondage  (bandha),  and 
describing  their  state  of  disentanglement  or  separation  in  re- 
lease (moksa),  while  Yoga  treats  specifically  of  the  dynamics  of 
the  process  of  the  disentanglement,  and  outlines  practical  tech- 
niques for  the  gaining  of  release,  or  "isolation-integration" 
(kawalya).  As  we  read  in  the  Bhagavad  Gita:  "Puerile  and  un- 
learned people  speak  of  'enumerating  knowledge'  (sankhya)  and 
the  'practice  of  introvert  concentration'  (yoga)  as  distinct  from 
each  other,  yet  anyone  firmly  established  in  either  gains  the 
fruit  of  both.  The  state  attained  by  the  followers  of  the  path 
of  enumerating  knowledge  is  attained  also  through  the  exercises 
of  introvert  concentration.  He  truly  sees  who  regards  as  one 
the  intellectual  attitude  of  enumerating  knowledge  and  the 
practice  of  concentration."  1  The  two  systems,  in  other  words, 
supplement  each  other  and  conduce  to  the  identical  goal. 

1  Bhagavad  Gita  5.  4-5, 



The  main  conceptions  of  this  dual  system  are:  1.  that  the 
universe  is  founded  on  an  irresoluble  dichotomy  of  "life-monads" 
(purusa)  and  lifeless  "matter"  (prakrti),  2.  that  "matter"  (prakrti), 
though  fundamentally  simple  and  uncompounded,  nevertheless 
exfoliates,  or  manifests  itself,  under  three  distinctly  differenti- 
ated aspects  (the  so-called  gunas),  which  are  comparable  to  the 
three  strands  of  a  rope,  and  3.  that  every  one  of  the  "life-monads" 
(puru$a)  associated  with  "matter"  (prakrti)  is  involved  in  the 
bondage  of  an  endless  "round  of  transmigration"  (saihsara). 

These  ideas  do  not  belong  to  the  original  stock  of  the  Vedic 
Brahmanic  tradition.  Nor,  on  the  other  hand,  do  we  find  among 
the  basic  teachings  of  Sankhya  and  Yoga  any  hint  of  such  a 
pantheon  of  divine  Olympians,  beyond  the  vicissitudes  of  earthly 
bondage,  as  that  of  the  Vedic  gods.  The  two  ideologies  are  of 
different  origin,  Sankhya  and  Yoga  being  related  to  the  me- 
chanical system  of  the  Jainas,  which,  as  we  have  seen,  can  be 
traced  back,  in  a  partly  historical,  partly  legendary  way,  through 
the  long  series  of  the  Tirthankaras,  to  a  remote,  aboriginal, 
non- Vedic,  Indian  antiquity.  The  fundamental  ideas  of  Sankhya 
and  Yoga,  therefore,  must  be  immensely  old.  And  yet  they  do 
not  appear  in  any  of  the  orthodox  Indian  texts  until  compara- 
tively late— specifically,  in  the  younger  stratifications  of  the 
Upanisads  and  in  the  Bhagavad  Glta,  where  they  are  already 
blended  and  harmonized  with  the  fundamental  ideas  o£  the 
Vedic  philosophy.  Following  a  long  history  of  rigid  resistance, 
the  exclusive  and  esoteric  Brahman  mind  of  the  Aryan  invaders 
opened  up,  at  last,  and  received  suggestions  and  influences  from 
the  native  civilization.  The  result  was  a  coalescence  of  the  two 
traditions.  And  this  is  what  produced,  in  time,  the  majestic 
harmonizing  systems  of  medieval  and  contemporary  Indian 

Sankhya  is  said  to  have  been  founded  by  a  semi-mythical  holy 
man,  Kapila,  who  stands  outside  the  traditional  assembly  of 
the  Vedic  saints  and  sages,  as  an  Enlightened  One  in  his  own 


right.  Though  he  plays  no  such  conspicuous  role  in  Indian  myth 
and  legend  as  do  many  of  the  other  great  philosophers,  never- 
theless, his  miraculous  power  is  recognized  in  a  celebrated  epi- 
sode of  the  Mahabharata.2  There  we  read  that  the  sixty  thou- 
sand sons  of  a  certain  Cakravartin  named  "Ocean"  (sagara)  were 
riding  as  the  armed  guard  of  their  father's  sacrificial  horse  while 
it  wandered  over  the  kingdoms  of  the  land,  during  its  symboli- 
cal solar  year  of  victorious  freedom."  Suddenly,  to  their  pro- 
found distress,  the  animal  vanished  from  before  their  very  eyes. 
They  set  to  work  digging  where  it  had  disappeared  and  came 
upon  it,  finally,  deep  in  the  earth,  down  in  the  underworld, 
with  a  saint  sitting  beside  it  in  meditation.  Over-eager  to  re- 
capture their  sacred  charge,  the  young  warriors  disregarded  the 
saint— who  was  none  other  than  Kapila— and  omitted  to  pay 
him  the  homage  traditionally  due  to  a  holy  man.  Whereupon, 
with  a  flash  of  his  eye,  he  burnt  them  all  to  ashes. 

The  solar  power  of  the  sage  is  evident  in  this  adventure.  His 
name,  Kapila,  meaning  the  "Red  One,"  is  an  epithet  of  the 
sun,  as  well  as  of  Visnu.  Judging  from  his  influence  in  the  pe- 
riod of  Mahavira  and  the  Buddha,  he  must  have  lived  before 
the  sixth  century  B.C.,  and  yet  the  classic  texts  of  the  philosoph- 
ical system  that  he  is  said  to  have  founded  belong  to  a  much 
later  dale.  The  important  Sdnkhya-karika  of  Isvarakrsna  was 
composed  in  the  middle  of  the  fifth  century  A.D.,  while  the 
Sankhya-sulras,  the  work  ascribed  traditionally  to  the  hand  of 
Kapila  himself,  cannot  be  dated  earlier  than  1380-1450  a.d.4 

As  for  Yoga,  the  dating  of  the  classic  Yoga-sutras  of  Patafijali 
is  extremely  controversial.  Though  the  first  three  books  of  this 
basic  treatise  may  belong  to  the  second  century  B.C.,  the  fourth 
is  apparently  later;  for  it  contains  material  that  seems  to  refer 

2  Mahabharata  3.  107. 
*  CI.  supra,  pp.  134-135. 

4Cf.  Richard  Garbe,  Die  Sdmkhya-Philosophie,  2nd  edition,  Leipzig, 
1917,  pp.  83-84,  95-100. 



to  late  Buddhistic  thought.  This  final  book  has  been  assigned, 
therefore,  to  the  fifth  century  a.d.;  but  the  argument  is  not  yet 
closed.  In  any  case,  the  four  books  of  Patafijali's  Yogo-sutras,  to- 
gether with  their  ancient  commentary  (the  Yoga-bh&sya,  which 
is  attributed  to  Vyasa,  the  legendary  poet-sage  of  the  Maha- 
bharata),  must  be  reckoned  among  the  most  astounding  works  of 
philosophical  prose  in  the  literature  of  the  world.  They  are  re- 
markable not  only  for  the  subject  matter,  but  also,  and  partic- 
ularly, for  their  wonderful  sobriety,  clarity,  succinctness,  and 
elasticity  of  expression. 

We  possess  little  information  concerning  Pataiijali  himself, 
and  this  little  is  legendary  and  replete  with  contradictions.  For 
example,  he  is  both  identified  with  and  distinguished  from  the 
grammarian— also  named  Pataiijali— who  composed  the  so-called 
"Great  Commentary"  (Mahabhasya)  to  Katyayana's  "Critical 
Gloss"  (Varttika)  on  Panini's  Sanskrit  Grammar.  He  is  regarded, 
moreover  as  an  incarnation  of  the  serpent-king  Sesa,  who  sur- 
rounds and  supports  the  universe  in  the  form  of  the  Cosmic 
Ocean.  Occidental  scholars  have  assigned  him  to  the  second 
century  B.C.,  and  yet  the  system  that  he  is  reputed  to  have 
founded  certainly  existed  centuries  before  that  time. 


When  ambition,  success,  and  the  game  of  life  (artha),  as  well 
as  sex  and  the  enjoyments  of  the  senses  (kama),  no  longer  pro- 
duce any  novel  and  surprising  turns,  holding  nothing  more  in 


store,  and  when,  furthermore,  the  virtuous  fulfillment  of  the 
tasks  of  a  detent,  normal,  human  career  (dharma)  begins  to  pall, 
having  become  a  stale  routine,  there  remains,  still,  the  lure  of 
the  spiritual  adventure— the  quest  for  whatever  may  lie  within 
(beneath  the  mask  of  the  conscious  personality)  and  without 
(behind  the  visible  panorama  of  the  exterior  world).  What  is 
the  secret  of  this  ego,  this  "1,"  with  whom  we  have  been  on  such 
intimate  terms  all  these  worn-out  years,  and  who  is  yet  a  stran- 
ger, full  of  curious  quirks,  odd  whims,  and  puzzling  impulses 
of  aggression  and  i  elapse?  And  what  has  been  lurking,  mean- 
while, behind  these  external  phenomena  that  no  longer  intrigue 
us,  producing  all  these  surprises  that  are  not  surprises  any  more? 
The  possibility  of  discovering  the  secret  of  the  workings  of  the 
cosmic  theater  itself,  after  its  effects  have  become  only  an  intol- 
erable bore,  remains  as  the  final  fascination,  challenge,  and  ad- 
venture of  the  human  mind. 

We  read  at  the  opening  of  the  Yoga-sutras: 

Yogai  cittavrlti-nirodhyah. 

"Yoga  consists  in  the  (intentional)  stopping  of  the  spontane- 
ous activities  of  the  mind-stuff,"  R 

The  mind,  by  nature,  is  in  constant  agitation.  According  to 
the  Hindu  theory,  it  is  continually  transforming  itself  into  the 
shapes  of  the  objects  of  which  it  becomes  aware.  Its  subtle  sub- 
stance assumes  the  forms  and  colors  of  everything  offered  to  it 
by  the  senses,  imagination,  memory,  and  emotions.  It  is  en- 
dowed, in  other  words,  with  a  power  of  transformation,  or  meta- 
morphosis, which  is  boundless  and  never  put  at  rest." 

8  Pantanjali,  Yoga-sutras  i.  1-2. 

«The  protean,  ever-moving  character  of  the  mind,  as  described  both 
in  Sankhya  and  in  Yoga,  is  comparable  to  Swedenborg's  idea  that  "re- 
cipients are  images,"  i.e.,  that  the  receptive  organs  assume  on  the  spiritual 
plane  the  form  and  nature  of  whatever  objects  they  receive  and  contain. 
(Cf.  Swedenborg,  Divine  Love  and  Wisdom,  §  288.) 


The  mind  is  thus  in  a  continuous  ripple,  like  the  surface  of 
a  pond  beneath  a  breeze,  shimmering  with  broken,  ever-chang- 
ing, self-scattering  reflections.  Left  to  itself  it  would  never  stand 
like  a  perfect  mirror,  crystal  clear,  in  its  "own  state,"  unruffled 
and  reflecting  the  inner  man;  for,  in  order  that  this  should  take 
place,  all  the  sense  impressions  coming  from  without  (which 
are  like  the  waters  of  entering  rivulets,  turbulent  and  disturb- 
ing to  the  translucent  substance)  would  have  to  be  stopped,  as 
well  as  the  impulses  from  within:  memories,  emotional  pres- 
sures, and  the  incitements  of  the  imagination  (which  arc  like 
internal  springs).  Yoga,  however,  stills  the  mind.  And  the  mo- 
ment this  quieting  is  accomplished,  the  inner  man,  the  life- 
monad,  stands  revealed— like  a  jewel  at  the  bottom  of  a  quieted 

According  to  the  Sarikhya  (and  the  view  of  Yoga  is  the  same) 
the  life-monad  (called  purusa,  "man,"  atmart,  "self,"  or  pufns, 
"man")  is  the  living  entity  concealed  behind  and  within  all  the 
metamorphoses  of  our  life  in  bondage.  Just  as  in  Jainism,  so 
also  here,  the  number  of  the  life-monads  in  the  universe  is  sup- 
posed to  he  infinite,  and  their  "proper  nature"  (svarupa)  is  re- 
garded as  totally  different  from  that  of  the  lifeless  "matter" 
(prakrti)  in  -which  they  are  engulfed.  They  arc  termed  "spirit- 
ual" (cit,  citi,  cetana,  caitanya),  and  are  said  to  be  "of  the  nature 
of  sheer,  self-effulgent  light"  (prabkdsa).  Within  each  individual, 
the  self-luminous  purusa,  atman,  or  puriis  illuminates  all  the 
processes  of  gross  and  subtle  matter— the  processes,  that  is  to  say, 
of  both  life  and  consciousness— as  these  develop  within  the 
organism;  yet  this  life-monad  itself  is  without  form  or  con- 
tent. It  is  devoid  of  qualities  and  peculiarities,  such  specifica- 
tions being  but  properties  of  the  masking  realm  of  matter.  It  is 
without  beginning,  without  end,  eternal  and  everlasting,  and 
without  parts  or  divisions;  for  what  is  compounded  is  subject  to 
destruction.  It  was  regarded  originally  as  of  atomic  size,  but 
later  as  all-pervading  and  infinite,  without  activity,  changeless, 


and  beyond  the  sphere  of  movements,  "at  the  top,  the  summit* 
(kulaslha).  The  monad  is  unattached  and  without  contact,  ab- 
solutely indifferent,  unconcerned,  and  nninvolved,  and  therefore 
never  actually  in  bondage,  never  really  released,  but  eternally 
free;  for  release  would  imply  a  previous  state  of  bondage, 
whereas  no  such  bondage  can  be  said  to  touch  the  inner  man. 
Man's  problem  is,  simply,  that  his  permanent,  ever-present  ac- 
tual freedom  is  not  realized  because  of  the  turbulent,  ignorant, 
distracted  condition  of  his  mind. 

Here,  obviously,  wc  have  begun  to  step  away  from  the  Jaina 
doctrine,  with  its  theory  of  an  actual  contamination  of  the  life- 
monad  (jiva)  by  the  karrnic  matter  (a-jlva)  of  the  six  colors.' 
According  to  the  SSrikhya  and  Yoga  view,  the  monad  is  an  im- 
material entity,  which—in  contradistinction  to  the  atman  of 
Vedanta— is  neither  possessed  of  bliss  nor  endowed  with 
the  power  of  acting  as  the  material  or  efficient  cause  of  any- 
thing. It  is  a  knowledge  of  nothing.  It  is  uncreative  and  does 
not  expand,  transform  itself,  or  bring  anything  to  pass.  It  does 
not  participate  in  any  way  in  human  pains,  possessions,  or  feel- 
ings, but  is  by  nature  "absolutely  isolated"  (kevala),  even  though 
it  appears  to  be  involved  in  life  because  of  its  apparent  associa- 
tion with  the  "conditioning,  limiting  attributes"  (upadhis)— 
which  are  the  constituents,  not  of  the  life-monad  itself,  but  of 
the  subtle  and  gross  material  bodies  through  which  it  is  re- 
flected in  the  sphere  of  space  and  time.  Purusa,  because  of  these 
upadhis,  appears  as  jiva,  the  "living  one,"  and  seems  to  be  en- 
dowed with  receptivity  and  spontaneity,  breathing,  and  all  the 
other  processes  of  the  organism;  whereas,  in  and  by  itself,  "it 
is  not  able  to  bend  a  leaf  of  grass." 

By  its  mere  inactive,  yet  luminous,  presence  the  monad  thus 

seems  to  be  the  activator,  and  in  this  hallucinatory  role  is  known 

as  the  "Lord"  or  "Supervisor"  (svamin,  adhisthatar).  It  does  not 

actually   command   or   control.    The   conditioning   attributes 

7  Cf.  supra,  pp.  227-231:  248-252. 



(upadhis)  work  of  themselves,  automatically  and  blindly;  the 
real  center  and  governor,  control  and  head,  of  their  life-process 
being  the  so-called  "inner  organ"  (antah-karana).  But  the  purusa, 
by  virtue  of  its  effulgence,  illuminates  and  seems  to  be  reflected 
in  the  process.  Moreover,  this  is  an  association  that  never  had 
any  beginning  and  has  existed  from  all  eternity.  It  is  comparable 
to  the  relationship  of  the  uninvolved  yet  omnipotent  Hindu 
housepriest  to  the  king  of  whom  he  is  the  spiritual  guide.  The 
priest  is  served  by  the  king,  as  well  as  by  all  the  officers  of  the 
realm,  and  yet  remains  inactive  and  unconcerned.  Or  the  asso- 
ciation can  be  compared  to  that  in  the  Hindu  game  of  chess, 
where  the  role  of  purusa  is  represented  by  the  "king,"  while  the 
"king's"  omnipresent  "general"  (senapati)— who  is  equivalent 
to  the  "queen"  in  our  Western  game— is  in  the  powerful,  serving 
yet  commanding,  position  of  the  "inner  organ."  Again,  the  re- 
lationship resembles  the  effect  of  the  sun  on  the  earth  and  its 
vegetation.  The  sun  suffers  no  alteration  as  a  consequence  of 
the  heat's  pervasion  of  the  earth  and  of  the  earth's  living  forms. 
The  self-effulgence  of  the  uninvolved  life-monad  {purusa),  by 
suffusing  the  unconscious  material  of  the  realm  and  processes  of 
lifeless  matter  (prakrti),  creates,  as  it  were,  both  the  life  and  the 
consciousness  of  the  individual:  what  appears  to  be  the  sun's 
activity  belongs  Teally  to  the  sphere  of  matter.  Or  it  is  precisely 
as  though  an  unmoving  personage,  reflected  in  a  moving  mirror, 
should  be  thought  to  move. 

Briefly  then,  according  to  the  Sarikhya  philosophy,  the  life- 
monad  is  associated  in  a  special  sort  of  "apparent  engagement" 
(samyoga-viiesa)  with  the  living  individual,  as  a  natural  conse- 
quence of  the  reflection  of  its  own  self-effulgence  in  the  protean, 
ever-moving,  subtle  matter  of  the  mind.  True  insight,  "discrim- 
inating knowledge"  (viveka),  can  be  achieved  only  by  bringing 
this  mind  to  a  state  of  rest.  Then  the  life-monad  (purusa)  is  per- 
ceived unobscured  by  the  qualities  of  agitated  matter  (prakrti), 
and  in  this  state  its  secret  nature  is  suddenly  and  simply  revealed. 


It  is  beheld  at  rest,  which  is  the  way  it  actually  and  always  is: 
aloof  from  the  natural  processes  that  are  taking  place  continu- 
ally round  about,  in  the  mind-stuff,  in  the  senses,  in  the  organs 
of  action,  and  in  the  animated  outer  world. 

Truth  is  to  be  attained  only  through  the  recognition  of  the 
fact  that,  whatever  happens,  nothing  affects  or  stains  the  life- 
monad.  It  remains  detached,  completely  so,  even  though  it  may 
seem  to  be  carrying  on  individual  life-processes,  through  the 
round  of  rebirths  and  in  the  present  life.  Our  normal  view  at- 
tributes all  the  states  and  transformations  of  life  to  the  life- 
monad;  they  seem  to  be  taking  place  within  it,  coloring  it,  and 
changing  it  for  better  or  worse.  Nevertheless,  this  illusion  is 
merely  an  effect  of  nescience.  The  life-monad  is  not  the  leasi 
affected.  In  our  fiery  true  Self  we  remain,  forever,  serene. 

According  to  the  Sarikhya-Yoga  analysis,  the  spontaneous  ac- 
tivities of  the  mind-stuff,  which  have  to  be  suppressed  before 
the  true  nature  of  the  life-monad  can  be  realized,  are  live: 
i.  right  notions,  derived  from  accurate  perception  (lira  man  a); 

2.  erroneous  notions,  derived  from  misapprehension  (viparyaya); 

3.  fantasy  or  fancy  (vikalpa);  4.  sleep  (nidrd);  and  5.  memory 
(smrti).8  When  these  five  have  been  suppressed,  the  disappear- 
ance of  desire,  and  of  all  other  mental  activities  of  an  emotional 
character,  automatically  follows. 

1.  Right  notions  arc  based  on,  a)  right  perception,  b)  right 
inference,  and  c)  right  testimony. " 

a)  Right  perception.  The  thinking  principle,  i.e.,  the  mind, 
assumes  the  shapes  of  its  perceptions  through  the  functioning 
of  the  senses.  It  can  be  compared  to  an  ever-burning  fire,  con- 
centrated into  tips  in  its  flames  and  reaching  its  objects  through 
these  foremost  points.  The  foremost  point  of  the  thinking  prin- 
ciple, when  meeting  objects  through  the  senses,  assumes  their 
form.  Because  of  this  the  process  of  perception  is  one  of  per- 

8  Patafijali,  Yoga-sutras  1.  6. 
»/&.  1.  7 



petual  self-transformation.  The  mind-stuff  is  compared,  there- 
fore, to  melted  copper,  which  when  poured  into  a  crucible 
assumes  its  form  precisely.  The  substance  of  the  mind  spontane- 
ously takes  on  both  the  shape  and  the  texture  of  its  immediate 

One  effect  of  this  process  is  a  broken,  continually  changing 
reflection  of  the  light  of  the  life-monad  in  the  ever-active  think- 
ing function,  which  brings  about  the  illusion  that  the  life- 
monad  is  what  is  undergoing  all  the  transformations.  It  appears 
to  be  taking  on,  not  only  the  shapes  of  our  various  perceptions, 
but  also  the  emotions  and  other  reactions  that  we  experience 
in  relation  to  them.  Hence  we  imagine  that  it  is  we  ourselves 
who  are  unremittingly  following  and  responding  to  whatever 
affects  the  flexible  tip  of  the  mind— pleasure  and  displeasure, 
sufferings  without  end,  changes  of  every  kind.  The  mind,  ac- 
cording to  its  natural  propensity,  runs  on,  transforming  itself 
through  all  the  experiences  and  accompanying  emotional  re- 
sponses of  an  avid,  troubled,  or  enjoyable  life  in  the  world,  and 
this  disturbance  then  is  believed  to  be  the  biography  of  the 
life-monad.  Our  innate  serenity  is  always  overshadowed,  tinged, 
and  colored  in  this  way,  by  the  varying  shapes  and  hues  of  the 
susceptible  thinking  principle.  Perceptions,  however,  belong  to 
the  sphere  of  matter.  When  two  material  perceptions  do  not 
contradict  each  other,  they  are  regarded  as  true  or  right.  Never- 
theless, even  "true"  or  "right"  perceptions  are  in  essence  false, 
and  to  be  suppressed,  since  they,  no  less  than  the  "wrong,"  pro- 
duce the  conception  of  an  "identity  of  form"  (sarupya)  between 
consciousness-as-mind-stuff  and  the  life-monad. 

b)  Right  inference.  Inference  is  that  function  of  the  thinking 
principle,  or  activity  of  the  mind,  which  is  concerned  with  the 
attribution  of  characteristics  to  the  objects  that  seem  to  bear 
them.  Right  inference  is  inference  that  can  be  supported  by 
right  perception. 

c)  Right  testimony  is  derived  from  the  traditional  sacred 



writings  and  authorities.  It  is  based  on  the  right  understanding 
of  a  word  or  text.  It  corroborates  right  perception  and  inference. 

2.  Erroneous  notions  through  misconception  arise  as  a  con- 
sequence of  some  defect  in  either  the  object  or  the  perceiving 

3.  Fancy  dwells  on  purely  imaginary  ideas,  unwarranted  by 
perception;  mythical  monsters,  for  example,  or  the  notion  that 
the  life-monad  itself  is  endowed  with  the  traits  of  the  thinking- 
principle,  and  hence  experiences  what  happens  to  be  taking 
place  in  the  mind-stuff.  The  difference  between  a  fancy  and  a 
misconception  is  that  the  former  is  not  removable  by  careful 
observation  of  the  object. 

4.  In  sleep  the  spontaneous  activity  of  the  mind-stuff  con- 
tinues. This  is  proven  by  an  experience  of  pleasure  that  is  nor- 
mally derived  from  sleep,  and  which  gives  rise  to  such  ideas  as 
"I  slept  soundly  and  delightfully."  Yoga  is  concerned  with  the 
suppression  of  sleep,  as  well  as  of  the  activities  of  the  mind 

5.  Memory  is  an  activity  of  the  mind-stuff  that  is  occasioned 
by  a  residuum,  or  "latent  impression"  (samskara),  of  some  for- 
mer experience  undergone  cither  in  the  present  or  in  a  bygone 
life.  Such  impressions  tend  to  become  activated.  They  manifest 
themselves  as  propensities  to  action,  i.e.,  tendencies  to  behave 
according  to  patterns  established  by  reactions  in  the  past.10 

*         *         « 
"In  case  there  are  invitations  from  those  in  high  places,"  we 
read  in  Patanjali's  Yoga-sutras,  "these  should  not  arouse  attach- 

10  This  review  of  the  spontaneous  activities  of  the  mind  is  based  on,  Yogamra-sangraha.  Vijnanabhi'ksu  lived  in  the  second  half 
of  the  sixteenth  century  a.d.  Resides  writing  the  Yogasara-sangraha  ("Sum- 
mary of  the  Essence  of  Yoga")  and  a  commentary  on  the  Yoga-sutras, 
called  the  Yoga-v&rttika,  he  condensed  the  Sankhya  doctrine  in  his  San- 
khyasara  and  composed  an  interpretation  of  the  Sdnkkya-sutras,  along  the 
lines  of  Vedanta  and  popular  Brahmanism,  in  his  Sankhyapravacana- 


merit  or  pride;  for  then  the  undesired  consequences  will 
recur."  u 

"Those  in  high  places"  are  the  gods.  They  are  not  omnipo- 
tent, according  to  the  view  of  Yoga,  but  are  in  fact  inferior  to 
the  accomplished  yogi.  They  arc  merely  highly  favored  beings, 
themselves  involved  in  delights— the  delights  of  their  supremely 
favorable,  celestial  circumstances.  The  meaning  of  this  curious 
aphorism  is  that  the  temptation  of  the  prospect  of  heaven  is  not 
to  be  allowed  to  distract  the  serious  practitioner  of  Yoga  from 
his  effort  to  transcend  the  allurements  of  all  the  worlds  of  form. 

In  the  commentary  on  this  passage  it  is  stated  that  there  are 
four  degrees  of  yogic  accomplishment  and,  correspondingly,  four 
types  of  yogi: 

1.  There  is  the  so-called  "observant  of  practice,"  for  whom 
light  is  just  beginning  to  dawn. 

2.  There  is  the  practitioner  with  "truth-bearing  insight." 

3.  There  is  the  one  who  has  subjugated  the  organs  and  the 
elements  and  is  consequently  provided  with  the  means  to  re- 
tain his  gains  (e.g.,  die  insights  of  the  various  super-reflective 
states).  He  has  means  commensurate,  that  is  to  say,  both  with 
what  has  been  cultivated  and  with  what  is  yet  to  be  cultivated. 
He  has  the  means  to  go  on  to  perfection. 

4.  There  is  the  one  who  has  passed  beyond  what  can  be  culti- 
vated, whose  sole  aim  now  is  to  resolve  the  mind  into  its  primary 

"The  purity  of  the  harmonious  consciousness  of  the  Brahman 
who  has  directly  experienced  the  second  or  so-called  'Honeyed 
Stage'  is  observed  by  those  in  high  places,  and  they  seek  to  tempt 
him  by  means  of  their  high  places:  'Sir,'  they  say,  'will  you  sit 

bkdfya.  According  to  the  view  of,  all  of  the  orthodox  systems 
of  Indian  philosophy  (of  which  Sankhya  and  Yoga  are  two)  contain  the 
highest  truth,  though  leading  to  it  from  diverse  and  apparently  antago- 
nistic starting  points. 
11  Yoga-sutras  3.  51. 



here?  Will  you  rest  here?  This  pleasure  might  prove  attractive. 
This  heavenly  maiden  might  prove  attractive.  This  elixir  keeps 
oft"  old  age  and  death.  This  chariot  passes  through  the  air. 
Yonder  stand  the  Wishing  Trees,  which  grant  the  fruits  of  all 
desire,  and  the  Stream  of  Heaven,  which  confers  blessedness. 
These  personages  arc  perfect  sages.  These  nymphs  are  incom- 
parable, and  not  prudish.  Eyes  and  ears  here  become  supernal; 
the  body  becomes  like  a  diamond.  Because  of  your  distinctive 
virtues,  Venerable  Sir,  all  of  these  things  have  been  won  by  you. 
Enter  into  this  high  place,  therefore,  which  is  unfading,  ageless, 
deathless,  and  dear  to  the  gods!' 

"Thus  addressed,"  continues  the  commentator,  "let  the  yogi 
ponder  upon  the  defects  of  pleasure:  'Broiled  on  the  horrible 
coals  of  the  round  of  rebirths  and  writhing  in  the  darkness  of 
birth  and  death,  I  have  only  this  minute  found  the  lamp  of 
yoga,  which  makes  an  end  of  the  obscurations  of  the  hindrances, 
the  "impairments"  (klcia).  The  lust-born  gusts  of  sensual  things 
are  the  enemies  of  this  lamp.  How  then  may  it  be  that  I,  who 
have  seen  its  light,  should  be  led  astray  by  these  phenomena  of 
sense— this  mere  mirage— and  make  fuel  of  myself  for  that  same 
old  fire  again  of  the  round  of  rebirths,  as  it  flares  anew?  Fare 
ye  well,  O  ye  sensual  tilings,  deceitful  as  dreams,  and  to  be  de- 
sired only  by  the  vilcl' 

"Determined  thus  in  purpose,"  the  commentary  continues, 
"let  the  yogi  cultivate  concentration.  Giving  up  all  attachments 
for  things  of  sense,  let  him  not  take  pride  even  in  thinking  that 
it  is  he  who  is  being  thus  urgently  desired  even  by  the  gods.  If 
such  a  one  in  his  pride  deems  himself  secure,  he  will  cease  to 
feel  that  he  is  one  whom  Death  has  gripped  by  the  hair.  [He 
will  become  a  victim,  that  is  to  say,  of  a  heavenly  inflation.] 
And  therewith  Heedlessness— which  is  always  on  the  lookout  for 
weak  points  and  mistakes,  and  must  be  carefully  watched— will 
have  found  its  opening  and  will  arouse  the  hindrances  (kleia). 
As  a  result,  the  undesired  consequences  will  rerur. 


"But,  on  the  other  hand,  he  who  does  not  become  interested, 
or  feci  the  urge  of  pride,  will  attain  the  secure  fulfillment  of 
the  purpose  that  lie  has  cultivated  within,  and  he  will  imme- 
diately find  himself  face  to  face  with  the  still  higher  purpose 
that  he  has  yet  to  cultivate."  1B 

This  absolute  goal  is  described  in  the  concluding  sutra  of 
Book  Three:  "When  the  purity  of  contemplation  {sattva)  equals 
the  purity  of  the  life-monad  (purusa),  there  is  isolation  (kai- 
valya)."  1S 

Commeniary:  "When  the  'contemplative  power*  {sattva)  of 
the  thinking  substance  is  freed  from  the  defilement  of  the 
'active  power'  (rajas)  and  the  'force  of  inertia'  (tamas),  and  has 
no  further  task  than  that  involved  in  transcending  the  pre- 
sented idea  of  the  difference  between  itself  (sattva)  and  the  life- 
monad  (ftnrnsa)tu  and  when  the  interior  seeds  o£  hindrances 
(klrsa)  have  all  been  burned,  then  the  'contemplative  power' 
(sattva)  enters  into  a  stale  of  purity  equal  to  that  of  the  life- 

"This  purity  is  neither  more  nor  less  than  the  cessation  of 
the  false  attribution  of  experience  to  the  life-monad.15  That  is 

^-Yoga-sutras  3.  51,  Commentary,  (Based  on  the  translation  by  jame-. 
Houghton  Woods,  The  Yoga-System  of  PatafijaU,  Harvard  Oriental 
Series.  Vol.  XVII,  Cambridge,  Mass.,  1927,  pp.  285-286.) 

18  Yoga-sutras  3.  55. 

1*5*i//T^a,  rajas,  and  tamas:  these  are  the  gunas,  or  "three  qualities  of 
matter"  (cf.  supra,  p.  229  and  infra,  pp.  205-297).  Since  the  thinking  sub- 
stance is  material,  it  is  compounded  of  the  gunas.  The  goal  of  Yoga  is  to 
purge  it  of  rajas  and  tamas,  so  that  only  sattva  remains.  This  is  clear  and 
unagitated,  and  so  reflects  the  purusa  without  distortion.  When  the  purusa 
is  so  reflected,  only  one  act  remains  for  the  attainment  of  release,  namely 
that  of  recognizing  that  the  reflection  is  not  the  purusa. 

10  That  is  to  say,  it  is  realized  that  the  reflection  of  the  purusa  in  the 
sphere  of  matter  is  not  the  purusa  itself.  This  realization  is  comparable 
to  the  recognition  that  one  has  been  identifying  oneself  with  one's  own 
reflection  in  a  mirror.  One  is  thereupon  released  from  absorption  in  the 
context  of  the  mirror. 



the  life-monad's  'isolation.'  Then  the  purusa,  having  its  light 
within  itself,  becomes  undefiled  and  isolated."  " 


The  Hindrances 

Klesa,  a  common  word  in  everyday  Indian  speech,  is  derived 
from  the  root  kits,  "to  be  tormented  or  afflicted,  to  suffer,  to  feel 
pain  or  distress."  The  participle  hliita  is  used  as  an  adjective 
meaning  "distressed;  suffering  pain  or  misery;  faded,  wearied, 
injured,  hurt;  worn  out,  in  bad  condition,  marred,  impaired, 
disordered,  dimmed,  or  made  faint."  A  garland,  when  the  Bow- 
ers are  withering,  is  klista;  the  splendor  of  the  moon  is  kli&a, 
when  obscured  by  a  veil  of  clouds;  a  garment  worn  out,  or 
spoiled  by  stains,  is  klista;  and  a  human  being,  when  the  inborn 
splendor  of  his  nature  has  been  subdued  by  fatiguing  business 
affairs  and  cumbersome  obligations,  is  klista.  In  the  usage  of 
the  Yoga-sfitras,  klesa  denotes  anything  which,  adhering  to 
man's  nature,  restricts  or  impairs  its  manifestation  of  its  true 
essence.  Patanjali's  Yoga  is  a  technique  to  get  rid  of  such  im- 
pairments and  thereby  reconstitute  the  inherent,  perfection  of 
the  essential  person. 

What  are  the  impairments? 

The  answer  to  this  question  is  one  that  is  confusing  to  the 
Occidental  mind,  for  it  reveals  the  breach  that  separates  our 
usual  view  of  the  inherent  values  of  the  human  personality  from 
the  Indian.  Five  impairments  are  enumerated: 

18  Yoga-sutras  3.  55;  Commentary.  Woods,  op.  cit.,  p.  295. 


i.  Avidyd:  nescience,  ignorance,  not-knowing-better;  un- 
awareness  of  the  truth  that  transcends  the  perceptions  of  the 
mind  and  senses  in  their  normal  functioning.  As  a  consequence 
of  this  impairment  we  are  bound  by  the  prejudices  and  habits 
of  naive  consciousness.  Avidya  is  the  root  of  all  our  so-called 
conscious  thought. 

a.  Asmita  (asmi  =  "1  am"):  the  sensation,  and  crude  notion, 
"I  am  I;  cogilo  ergo  sum;  this  obvious  ego,  supporting  my  ex- 
perience, is  the  real  essence  and  foundation  of  my  being." 

3.  Raja:  attachment,  sympathy,  interest;  affection  of  every 

4.  Dvesa:  the  feeling  contrary  to  raja:  disinclination,  distaste, 
dislike,  repugnance,  and  hatred. 

Raja  and  dvesa,  sympathy  and  antipathy,  are  at  the  root  of  all 
the  pairs  of  opposites  (dvandvu)  in  the  sphere  of  human  emo- 
tions, reactions,  and  opinion.  They  tear  the  soul  unremittingly 
this  way  and  that,  upsetting  its  balance  and  agitating  the  lake- 
like, mirrorlike  surface,  thus  rendering  it  incapable  of  reflecting 
without  distortion  the  perfect  image  of  purusa. 

5.  Abhiniveta:  clinging  to  life  as  to  a  process  that  should  go 
on  without  end;  i.e.,  the  will  to  live. 

These  five  hindrances,  or  impairments,  are  to  be  regarded  as 
so  many  perversions,  troubling  consciousness  and  concealing 
the  essential  state  of  serenity  of  our  true  nature.  They  are  gen- 
erated involuntarily  and  continuously,  welling  in  an  uninter- 
rupted effluence  from  the  hidden  source  of  our  phenomenal 
existence.  They  give  strength  to  the  substance  of  ego,  and  cease- 
lessly build  up  its  illusory  frame. 

The  source  of  all  this  confusion  is  the  natural  interplay  of  the 
gunas,  those  three  "constituents,  powers,  or  qualities"  of  prakrti 
at  which  we  glanced  in  our  study  of  the  lesyas  of  the  Jainas;  " 
namely,  sattva,  rajas,  and  tamas. 

1.  Sattva  is  a  noun  built  on  the  participle  sat  (or  sant),  from 

"Supra,  pp.  329-331. 



as,  the  verb  "to  be."  18  Sat  means  "being;  as  it  should  be;  good, 
well,  perfect,"  and  saltva,  accordingly,  "the  ideal  state  of  being; 
goodness,  perfection,  crystal  purity,  immaculate  clarity,  and 
utter  quiet."  The  quality  of  sattva  predominates  in  gods  and 
heavenly  beings,  unselfish  people,  and  men  bent  on  purely 
spiritual  pursuits.  This  is  the  guna  that  facilitates  enlighten- 
ment. Therefore,  the  first  aim  of  the  Yoga  taught  in  Pataiijali's 
Yoga-sutras  is  to  increase  sattva,  and  thus  gradually  purge  man's 
nature  of  rajas  and  tamas. 

2.  The  noun  rajas  means,  literally,  "impurity";  in  reference 
to  the  physiology  of  the  female  body,  "menstruation";  and  more 
generally,  "dust."  The  word  is  related  to  ran],  rakta,  "redness, 
color,"  as  well  as  to  raga,  "passion."  The  dust  referred  to  is  that 
continually  stirred  up  by  wind  in  a  land  where  no  rain  falls  for 
at  least  ten  months  a  year;  for  in  India,  except  in  the  rainy  sea- 
son, there  is  nothing  but  the  nightly  dew  to  quench  the  thirst 
of  the  ground.  The  dry  soil  is  continually  whirling  into  the  air, 
dimming  the  serenity  of  the  sky  and  coming  down  over  every- 
thing. In  the  rainy  period,  on  the  other  hand,  all  this  dust  is 
settled.  And  during  the  beautiful  autumnal  season  that  follows 
the  rains,  when  the  sun  has  dispelled  the  heavy  clouds,  the  sky  is 
spotlessly  clear."  The  Sanskrit  word  for  "autumnal,"  iarada, 
(from  the  noun  .varad="autumn"),  consequently,connotes"fresh, 
young,  new,  recent,"  and  vi-iarada  ("characterized  by  a  greatness 
01  abundance  of  iarada")  means  "clever,  skillful,  proficient, 
versed  in,  conversant  with,  learned,  wise."  The  intellect  of  the 
wise,  that  is  to  say,  is  characterized  by  the  far  visibility  of  the 
autumnal  firmament,  which  is  translucent,  untainted,  and  utterly 
clear,  whereas  the  intellect  of  the  fool  is  filled  with  rajas,  the 
ruddv  dust  of  passion. 

Rajas  dims  the  outlook  on  all  things,  obscuring  the  view  not 

1B  Compare  English  present,  absent   (sant);  also,  essence,  ewential  (a*). 
"  The  Hindu  autumn,  in  this  respect,  is  comparable  to  the  Indian 
Summer  of  New  England  and  New  York. 


only  of  the  universe  but  of  oneself.  Thus  it  produces  both  intel- 
lectual and  moral  darkness.  Among  mythological  beings  rajas  pre- 
dominates in  the  titans,  those  anti-gods  or  demons  who  represent 
the  Will  for  Power  in  its  full  force,  reckless  in  its  pursuit  of 
supremacy  and  splendor,  puffed  with  ambition,  vanity,  and  boast- 
ful egotism.  Rajas  is  evident  everywhere  among  men,  as  the  mo- 
tivating force  of  our  struggle  for  existence.  It  is  what  inspires 
our  desires,  likes  and  dislikes,  competition,  and  will  for  the  en- 
joyments of  the  world.  It  compels  both  men  and  beasts  to  strive 
for  the  goods  of  life,  regardless  of  the  needs  and  sufferings  of 

3.  Tamas  (cf.  Latin  tene-brae,  French  Une-bres)— literally, 
"darkness,  black,  dark-blue";  spiritually,  "blindness"— connotes 
the  unconsciousness  that  predominates  in  the  animal,  vegetable, 
and  mineral  kingdoms.  Tamas  is  the  basis  of  all  lack  of  feeling, 
dullness,  ruthlessncss,  insensibility,  and  inertia.  It  causes  mental 
gloom,  ignorance,  error,  and  illusion.  The  stolidity  of  seemingly 
lifeless  matter,  the  mute  and  merciless  strife  among  the  plants  for 
soil,  moisture,  and  air,  the  insensible  greed  of  animals  in  their 
search  for  food  and  their  ruthless  devouring  of  their  prey,  are 
among  the  primary  manifestations  of  this  universal  principle.  On 
the  human  level,  tamas  is  made  manifest  in  the  dull  stupidity  of 
the  more  self-centered  and  self-satisfied— those  who  acquiesce  in 
whatever  happens  as  long  as  their  personal  slumber,  safely,  or 
interests  are  not  disturbed.  Tamas  is  the  power  that  holds  the 
frame  of  the  universe  together,  the  frame  of  every  society,  and 
the  character  of  the  individual,  counterbalancing  the  danger  of 
self-explosion  that  perpetually  attends  the  restless  dynamism  of 
the  principle  of  rajas. 

The  first  of  the  five  impairments,  avidya,  lack  of  true  insight, 
is  the  main  support  of  the  unending  play  and  interplay  of  these 
three  gunas.  Avidy5  permits  the  blind  onrush  of  life  to  go  on, 
both  hired  and  tortured  by  its  own  principles.  The  other  four 
impairments  (asmitS,  the  crude  notion  "I  am  I";  raja,  attach- 


ment;  dvesa,  repugnance;  and  abhinives'a,  the  will  to  live)  are  but 
so  many  transformations  or  inflections  of  this  primary  cause,  this 
persistent  delusion  that,  somehow,  the  perishable,  transitory  val- 
ues of  earthly  and  celestial  existence  may  yet  become  a  source  of 
unmixed  and  everlasting  happiness.  Avidya  is  the  common  doom 
of  all  living  beings.  Among  men,  it  casts  its  spell  over  the  reason- 
ing faculty,  impelling  it  to  false  predictions  and  wrong  deduc- 
tions. In  spite  of  the  fact  that  the  goods  of  life  are  intrinsically 
impure,  and  necessarily  the  causes  of  suffering  because  finally  de- 
void of  substance,  we  insist  on  regarding  and  discussing  them  as 
though  they  were  absolutely  real.  People  believe  that  the  earth 
is  everlasting,  that  the  firmament  with  the  stars  and  moon  is 
imperishable,  that  the  gods  dwelling  in  celestial  mansions  are 
immortal— whereas  nothing  of  the  kind  is  true.  In  fact,  the  truth 
is  precisely  the  contrary  of  these  popular  beliefs. 

It  is  to  be  noted  that,  whereas,  according  to  the  essentially 
materialistic  view  of  the  Jamas,  the  primary  and  all-inclusive 
opposite  to  jtva  was  a-jiva,2"  here,  where  the  problem  of  release 
is  regarded  from  a  psychological  point  of  view,  the  crucial  prin- 
ciple to  be  combatted  is  avidya.  A  constant  trend  of  wishful 
wrong-thinking  is  what  supplies  the  motivating  force  of  existence, 
producing  a  vigorous,  life-supporting  manifold  of  wrong  beliefs. 
Each  phenomenal  entity,  wanting  to  go  on  forever,  avoids  the 
thought  of  its  own  transitory  character,  and  resists  observing  the 
many  symptoms  round  about  of  the  liability  of  all  things  to  death. 
The  Yoga-sutras,  therefore,  direct  attention  to  the  instability  of 
the  backgrounds  of  life:  the  universe;  the  celestial  bodies,  which, 
by  their  circling,  measure  and  mark  the  passages  of  time;  and  the 
divine  beings  themselves,  "those  in  high  places,"  who  are  the 
governors  of  the  round.  The  undeniable  fact  that  it  is  in  the 
nature  of  even  these  great  and  apparently  long-enduring  pres- 
ences to  pass,  guarantees  the  transitory,  fleeting,  and  mirage- 
like  character  of  all  the  rest. 
80  Cf.  sup ra,  p.  270. 



The  five  impairments  together  distort  every  object  of  percep- 
tion, thus  provoking  fresh  misunderstandings  every  moment.  But 
the  yogi,  in  the  course  of  his  training,  systematically  attacks  them 
at  the  root.  And  they  actually  fade  away,  vanishing  step  by  step, 
with  his  gradual  conquest  of  that  ignorance  (avidya)  whence  they 
all  derive.  They  become  less  and  less  effective,  and  at  last  dis- 
appear. For  whenever  he  enters  into  his  yogic  state  of  introverted 
absorption,  they  are  lulled  into  temporary  slumber,  and  during 
these  moments,  while  they  are  inoperative,  his  mind  becomes 
aware  of  new  insights— whereas  in  the  so-called  "normal"  states 
of  consciousness,  which  are  the  only  source  of  our  experience,  the 
five  impairments  constitute  the  very  bounds  of  knowledge,  hold- 
ing the  whole  of  the  universe  under  a  tyrannical  spell  of  help- 
less fascination. 

From  the  Occidental  point  of  view,  the  entire  category  of 
the  "impairments"  (klcsa)  might  be  summed  up  in  the  term, 
"personality."  They  are  the  bundle  of  life-forces  that  constitute 
the  individual  and  implicate  him  in  the  surrounding  world.  Our 
clinging  to  our  ego,  and  our  usual  concrete  conception  of  what 
our  ego  is;  our  spontaneous  self-surrender  to  the  likes  and  dis- 
likes that  guide  us  daily  on  our  way  and  which,  more  or  less 
unconsciously,  are  the  most  cherished  ingredients  of  our  na- 
ture—these are  the  impairments.  And  through  all  runs  that 
primitive  craving  of  the  living  creature,  which  is  common  to 
both  men  and  worms:  abhinives'a,  the  compulsion  to  keep  the 
present  existence  going.  From  the  depths  of  the  nature  of  every 
phenomenal  being  comes  the  universal  cry:  "May  I  not  cease  to 
existl  May  I  go  on  increasing!" sl  Face  to  face  with  death,  this  is 
the  ultimate  desire  "even  in  the  wise."  And  such  a  will  to  live  is 
strong  enough,  according  to  the  Indian  theory  of  rebirth,  to  carry 
an  individual  across  the  gulf  of  death  into  a  new  incarnation, 
compelling  him  to  reach  out  again  for  a  new  body,  another  mask, 
another  costume,  in  which  to  carry  on.  Moreover,  the  craving 
21  Yoga-sutras  2.  9:  Commentary,  Woods,  op.  tit.,  p.  117. 


wells  up  spontaneously,  of  itself;  it  is  not  an  effect  of  thought. 
For  why  should  a  creature  just  born,  and  without  any  experience 
of  death,  shrink  back  from  death?  -2 

This  elemental  cry  and  craving  to  expand,  even  to  multiply  in 
new  forms  in  order  to  circumvent  the  inevitable  doom  of  indi- 
vidual death,  is  rendered  vividly  in  the  pictorial  script  of  one  of 
the  great  Hindu  myths  of  the  Brahmana  period  (c.  900-600  B.C.), 
in  which  we  are  told  of  the  first,  world-creative  impulse  of  Pra- 
japati,  the  "Lord  of  Creatures."  This  ancient  god-creator  was  not 
an  abstract  divine  spirit,  like  the  one  in  the  first  chapters  of  the 
Old  Testament,  who,  floating  in  the  pure  void,  beyond  and  aloof 
from  the  confused  welter  of  the  dark  world  of  matter,  created 
the  universe  by  the  sheer  magic  of  the  commands  of  his  holy 
voice,  summoning  all  things  into  being  by  the  mere  utterance 
of  their  names.  Prajapati,  rather,  was  a  personification  of  the  all- 
containing  life-matter  and  life-force  itself,  yearning  to  develop 
into  teeming  worlds.  And  he  was  impelled  to  create,  we  are  told, 
by  a  twofold  impulse.  On  the  one  hand,  he  felt  lonely,  destitute, 
and  fearful,  and  so  brought  forth  the  universe  to  surround  him- 
self with  company;  but  on  the  other  hand,  he  also  felt  a  longing 
to  let  his  substance  overflow,  wherefore  he  said  to  himself:  "May 
I  give  increase;  may  I  bring  forth  creatures!"  aa 

This  double  attitude  of  destitution  and  longing,  at  once  for- 
lorn amid  the  utter  Nought  and  surging  to  put  forth  the  creative 
life-strength  within,  represents  in  mythical  form  the  whole  mean- 
ing of  the  primal,  universal  cry.  The  Hindu  god-creator  is  a  per- 
sonification of  the  dual  tendency  that  inhabits  all  living  things, 
everywhere.  A  timorous  shrinking  from  possible  dissolution, with, 
at  the  same  time,  the  valiant  impulse  to  increase,  to  multiply 
indefinitely  and  thus  become  a  complete  universe  through  prog- 

«C£.  i6.,  p.  118. 

2S$atapatha  Brahmana  t.  *.  4;  6.  1.  1-9;  11.  5.  8.  1.  Compare  Brhad- 
dravyaka  Upanifad  1.  2,  1-7  and  1.  4. 1-5. 


eny,  are  the  two  complementary  aspects  of  the  one  fundamental 
impulse  to  keep  going  on  and  on. 

The  five  klesas,  then,  comprise  that  heritage  of  tendencies  on 
which  creatures  thrive,  and  on  which  they  have  always  thrived. 
These  "impairments"  are  involuntary,  unconscious  propensities, 
effective  within  every  living  creature,  which  sweep  it  along 
through  life.  According  to  the  Indian  view,  moreover,  they  are 
inherited  from  former  existences.  They  are  the  very  forces  that 
have  brought  about  our  present  birth.  Hence  the  first  work  of 
Yoga  is  to  annihilate  them,  root  and  branch. 

This  requires  a  resolute  dissolving,  not  only  of  the  conscious 
human  personality,  but  also  of  the  unconscious  animal  drive  that 
supports  that  personality— the  blind  life-force,  present  "both  in 
the  worm  and  in  the  wise,"  that  avidly  clings  to  existence.  For 
only  when  these  two  spheres  of  natural  resistance  (the  moral  and 
the  biological)  have  been  broken  can  the  yogi  experience,  as  the 
core  of  his  being,  that  purusa  which  is  aloof  from  the  cries  of 
life  and  the  constant  flow  of  change.  The  serene  substratum  is 
reached,  released,  and  made  known  to  consciousness,  only  as 
a  result  of  the  most  severe  and  thoroughgoing  yogic  process  of 
disentanglement  and  introversion.  To  which  end,  three  lines 
or  ways  of  yogic  discipline  have  been  developed:  1.  asceticism, 
2.  "learning  in  the  holy  teaching,"  and  3.  complete  surrender 
to  the  will  and  grace  of  God. 

1.  Asceticism  is  a  preliminary  exercise  to  purge  away  the  im- 
purities that  stain  our  intrinsic  natirre.  These  dim  all  experience 
and  expression  by  impregnating  everything  with  the  traces  of 
former  acts  of  the  body  and  mind.  The  obscuring  traces  are  like 
scars;  they  have  been  cut  by  passion  (rajas)  and  spiritual  inertia 
(tamas),  the  two  forces  of  the  animal  portion  of  our  nature.  As- 
cetic exercises  heal  us  of  such  wounds.  Ascetic  practices  dispel 
the  impairments,  just  as  a  wind  dispels  the  clouds  that  hide  the 
sky.  Then  the  crystalline  limpidity  of  the  inner  firmament  of  the 
soul— that  mirror-calm  of  the  deep  inner  sea,  unstirred  by  emo- 


tional  gales,  unfurrowed  by  feeling— illuminates  the  conscious- 
ness. Tliis  is  the  releasing,  trans-human  illumination  which  is 
the  goal  ol  all  the  cruel,  and  otherwise  inexplicable,  practices  of 

2.  "Learning  in  the  holy  teaching'*  means,  first,  getting  the 
sacred  texts  by  heart,  and  then,  keeping  them  alive  in  die 
memory  through  a  methodical  recitation  of  holy  prayers,  sen- 
tences, formulae,  and  the  various  symbolical  syllables  of  the  reli- 
gious tradition.  This  practice  imbues  the  mind  with  the  essence 
of  the  teaching,  and  so  draws  it  away  from  worldly  things,  steep- 
ing it  in  a  pious  atmosphere  of  religious  detachment. 

3.  Complete  surrender  to  the  will  and  grace  of  God  is  the  adop- 
tion by  the  whole  personality  of  an  attitude  of  devotion  toward 
the  tasks  and  events  of  daily  life.  Every  act  of  one's  diurnal  rou- 
tine is  to  be  performed  with  disinterest,  in  a  detached  way,  and 
without  concern  for  its  effect  upon,  or  relationship  to,  one's  con- 
scious ego.  It  should  be  performed  as  a  service  to  God,  prompted 
as  it  were  by  God's  will,  executed  for  the  sake  of  God,  and  car- 
ried through  by  God's  own  energy,  which  is  the  life-energy  of 
the  devotee.  By  regarding  duties  in  this  light,  one  gradually  elim- 
inates egoism  and  selfishness  both  fiom  one's  actions  and  from 
their  results.  Every  task  becomes  part  of  a  sacred  ritual,  ceremo- 
niously fulfilled  for  its  own  sake,  with  no  regard  to  the  profit 
that  might  redound  to  the  individual.  This  type  of  preliminary 
"devotion"  (bhakti)  is  taught  in  the  Bhogavad  Gtta  and  in  many 
of  the  later,  classical  texts  of  Hinduism.  It  is  a  practical  exercise, 
or  technique,  of  spiritual  development,  based  on  the  device  ot 
regarding  all  work  as  done  through  God,  and  then  offering  it  to 
Him,  together  with  its  results,  as  an  oblation. 

The  Yoga-sutras  teach  that  through  a  life  perfectly  conducted 
according  to  these  principles,  one  can  attain  to  a  state  where  the 
five  impairments— that  is  to  say,  the  whole  human  personality,  to- 
gether with  the  unconscious  and  animal  layers  that  arc  its  founda- 
tion and  ever-welling  source— are  reduced  to  practically  nothing. 


One  can  "burn  the  seeds"  of  future  individual  ignorant  existences 
"in  the  fire  of  asceticism."  The  seeds  have  been  accumulated  and 
stored  as  a  result  of  actions,  both  voluntary  and  involuntary, 
during  this  and  former  existences;  if  not  demolished  they  will 
sprout  into  new  growths  of  entanglement,  yielding  the  fruits  of 
still  another  destiny  of  delusory  performances  and  rewards.  By 
means  of  Yoga,  however,  the  human  being,  congcnitally  impaired 
though  he  is  in  mind  and  character,  can  acquire  a  sublime,  re- 
fined understanding,  which  then  opens  for  him  the  way  to  release 
and  enlightenment.  Cleansed  of  the  whirling  dust  of  passion  that 
normally  bedims  the  inner  atmosphere,  as  well  as  of  the  dulling 
weight  of  darkness  that  besets  all  phenomenal  existence,  the  ma- 
terial of  nature  and  its  innate  vital  force  (Jirakrti)  becomes  en- 
tirely sattva:  calm,  transparent,  a  mirror  unobscured  by  film,  a 
lake  without  a  ripple,  luminous  in  its  crystalline  repose.  The 
impairments  (Ide.ia)  having  been  removed,  which  normally  break 
and  blacken  out  the  view,  illumination  unfolds  automatically  to 
the  mind,  and  the  living  consciousness  realizes  that  it  is  identical 
with  light. 

Thus  the  yogic  "reduction  diet"  systematically  starves  the  per- 
sonality to  death.  It  gives  no  quarter  to  that  naive  egotism  which 
is  generally  regarded  as  the  healthy  selfishness  of  creatures,  the 
force  that  enables  men  and  animals,  as  well  as  plants,  to  survive 
and  succeed  in  the  struggle  for  existence.  It  is  a  "reduction  diet" 
that  eradicates  even  the  basic,  unconscious  plant  and  animal  tend- 
encies of  our  biological  character.  And  the  benefit  is  that  when 
all  this  rajas  and  tamas  has  been  destroyed  and  sattva  alone  re- 
mains—isolated, pure,  and  rendered  fit  to  reflect  the  true  nature 
of  our  undistorted  being— a  nucleus  (purusa)  comes  to  view  diat 
is  detached  from  the  realm  of  the  gunas  and  distinct  from  all  that 
once  seemed  to  constitute  the  personality:  a  sublime  inhabitant 
and  onlooker,  transcending  the  spheres  of  the  former  conscious- 
unconscious  system,  aloofly  unconcerned  with  the  tendencies  that 


formerly  supported  the  individual  biography."  This  anonymous 
"diamond  being"  is  not  at  all  what  we  were  cherishing  as  our 
character  and  cultivating  as  our  faculties,  inclinations,  virtues,  and 
ideals;  for  it  transcends  every  horizon  of  unclarified  and  partly 
clarified  consciousness.  It  was  enwrapped  within  the  sheaths  of 
the  body  and  personality;  yet  the  dark,  turbid,  thick  gunas  could 
not  disclose  its  image.  Only  the  translucent  essence  of  clarified 
sattva  permits  it  to  become  visible— as  through  a  glass,  or  in  a 
quiet  pond.  And  then,  the  moment  it  is  recognized,  its  manifesta- 
tion bestows  an  immediate  knowledge  that  this  is  our  true  iden- 
tity. The  life-monad  is  remembered  and  greeted,  even  though  it 
is  distinct  from  everything  in  this  phenomenal  composite  of  a 
body  and  psyche,  which,  under  the  delusion  caused  by  our  usual 
ignorance  and  undiscriminating  consciousness  (avidya),  we  had 
crudely  mistaken  for  the  real  and  lasting  essence  of  our  being. 

"Discriminative  insight"  (viveka)  is  the  enemy  of  avidya  and 
therefore  the  chief  instrument  to  disentangle  us  from  the  force 
of  the  gunas.  It  cuts  through  tamas  and  rajas  like  a  knife,  open- 
ing the  way  to  the  realization  that  the  core  of  our  identity  is  sep- 
arated by  a  wide  gulf  from  the  continuous  ebb  and  flow  of  the 
tendencies  that  capture  the  attention  of  the  usual  individual  and 
are  everywhere  regarded  as  pertaining,  one  way  or  another,  to 
the  Self.  Through  "discriminative  insight"  (viveka)  an  abiding 
state  of  supreme  "isolation"  (kaivalya)  from  the  living-processes 
is  discerned  and  attained.  This  state  is  an  earthly  counterpart  of 
that  of  the  transcendent  monad  itself— which  is  then  disclosed  to 
the  inner  consciousness  of  the  absolutely  quieted  yogi,  by  virtue 
of  its  clear  reflection  in  the  translucent,  unself-assertive  sattvic 
mirror  of  his  mind.  That  self-luminous,  abiding  point  amidst  the 
whirlpool  of  the  transient  feelings,  emotions,  delusions,  and 
miragelike  superimpositions— that  inmost,  basic  nucleus  of  na- 
ture, crystalline,  the  very  spark  of  being— stands  brilliantly  re- 
vealed and  is  known  immediately  as  both  the  fundament  and  the 
*  Cf.  supra,  pp.  293-294,  and  footnotes  14  and  15. 


pinnacle  of  existence.  Moreover,  once  a  firm  position  has  been 
taken  on  that  point,  never  will  it  be  abandoned;  for  it  is  above 
the  whirl  of  both  outer  and  inner  changes,  and  beyond  all  event. 
Thence  can  be  witnessed  the  life-processes  going  on  in  the  body 
and  soul— just  as  from  the  summit  of  a  high  mountain,  bright  in 
the  sunshine  above  the  welter  of  a  storm,  clouds  can  be  witnessed 
shifting  down  a  valley. 

Integrity  and  Integration 

The  state  of  supreme  isolation  that  is  intrinsic  to  the  life- 
monad  (purusa)— aloof  from  all  the  self-continuing  processes  of 
matter  (prakrti),  which  are  the  very  life  of  the  body  and  soul— is 
called  kaivalya,  a  term  that  has  a  double  sense.  Kaivalya  is  the 
state  of  one  who  is  kevala—an  adjective  meaning  "peculiar,  ex- 
clusive, isolated,  alone;  pure,  simple,  unmingled,  unattended  by 
anything  else;  bare,  uncovered  (as  ground)";  and  at  the  same 
time,  "whole,  entire,  absolute,  and  perfect"  (kevala-jnana,  for  ex- 
ample, means  "absolute  knowledge").  Kaivalya,  consequently,  is 
"perfect  isolation,  final  emancipation,  exclusiveness,  and  detach- 
ment," and  at  the  same  time,  "perfection,  omniscience,  and  beati- 
tude." The  noun  kevalin,  furthermore,  is  a  term  used  specifically 
to  denote  the  Jaina  saint  or  Tirthankara.  Cleansed  of  karmic 
matter,  and  thereby  detached  from  bondage,  this  perfected  one 
ascends  in  complete  isolation  to  the  summit  of  the  universe. 
Yet,  though  isolated,  he  is  all-pervading  and  endowed  with  om- 
niscience; for  since  his  essence  has  been  relieved  of  qualifying, 


individualizing  features,  it  is  absolutely  unlimited.  Referring  to 
the  Tirtharikara  and  his  condition,  the  word  kcvalin  thus  ex- 
presses the  two  meanings  of  "isolated,  exclusive,  alone,"  and 
"whole,  entire,  absolute,"  both  being  ideas  pertaining  to  the 
sphere  of  beatitude  in  perfection. 

The  Sarikhya-Yoga  system  shares,  as  we  have  seen,  many  fea- 
tures with  the  ancient  pre-Aryan  philosophy  preserved  in  the  be- 
liefs of  the  Jainas.  In  both  contexts  the  gods  are  reduced  to  the 
rank  of  celestial  supermen;  they  enjoy  the  prerogatives  of  their 
high  position  only  for  a  time,  then  they  are  reborn  among  the 
creatures  of  the  lower  kingdoms.  Moreover,  in  both  systems, 
matter  (prakrli:  composed  of  the  gunas,  according  to  Sarikhya- 
Yoga;  composed  of  karma  of  the  six  colorings,  according  to  the 
Jainas)25  is  an  absolutely  indissoluble  principle;  so  that  the  world, 
together  with  its  visible,  tangible  creatures,  is  understood  to  be 
utterly  real.  It  is  not  a  mere  production  of  nescience  U'vidya),  as 
it  is  according  to  the  orthodox  Vcdantic  view.  Besides,  the  life- 
monads  (pitrusas,  flvas)  also  arc  real.  They  are  separate  entities 
distinct  from  matter,  and  they  are  innumerable.  This  idea,  too, 
is  contrary  to  the  Vcdantic  teaching. 

For  the  Vedanta  is  nondualistic.  Instead  of  founding  the  uni- 
verse on  a  legion  of  eternal  spiritual  entities  (jivas,  purusas), 
embedded  in,  yet  intrinsically  antithetical  to,  the  substance  of  an 
eternal  material  sphere  (njiva,  praftrti),  the  Aryan  teachers  held 
that  there  is,  finally  and  fundamentally,  but  one  essence,  Brah- 
man, and  that  this  unfolds  into  the  world-mirage  of  the  visible 
multitude  of  beings.  Every  creature  appears  to  be,  and  regards 
itself  as,  a  distinct  individual,  and  yet,  fundamentally,  there  is 
nothing  but  Brahman.  Brahman  is  the  one-without-a-second, 
all-comprehending,  the  only  "thing"  that  there  is,  in  spite  of  the 
fact  that  each  individual  experiences  Brahman  separately,  in 
its  microcosmic,  psvchological  aspect,  as  the  Self. 

In  the  Yoga-sutras  the  term  haivalya  has  the  same  double  mean- 

!5Cf.  supra,  pp.  229-231. 



ing  as  in  the  philosophy  ol  the  Jainas,  notwithstanding  that  the 
problem  of  bondage  and  release  is  now  regarded  from  a  psycho- 
logical point  of  view,  which  approaches,  in  a  certain  way,  the 
psychological  illusionism  ol  Vedanta.  The  term  kaivalya  still  de- 
notes both  "isolation"  and  "pei-lection."  The  yogi  who  has  got 
rid  of  the  impairments  (hleia)  that  in  normal  life  diminish  the 
perfection  of  being  is  expected  to  experience  fulfillment  in  his 
own  omniscient  isolation— just  as  did  ihe  Jaina  kevalin  or 
Tirthahkara;  he  does  not  lose  himself  in  the  universal  Brahman, 
as  docs  the  Vedantic  sage.  Unlike  the  Jaina,  however,  the  yogi 
achieves  kaivalya,  not  by  cleansing  himself  literally  of  contami- 
nating karma,  but  by  a  simple  (yet  supremely  difficult)  act  of 
comprehending  that  he  is,  in  tact  and  essence,  in  spite  of  all  ap- 
pearances, unimplicalcd  in  the  spheres  of  change  and  toil.  Un- 
touched, unaltered  by  the  processes  of  the  natural  activities  of 
the  gurms,  the  put  usa  (in  contrast  to  the  Jaina  jiva)  is  never  im- 
paired or  soiled,  but  tternally  free  and  self-contained— even  in 
the  case  of  beings  of  [he  lowest  orders,  and  in  spite  of  the  dismal 
fact  that  most  creatures  will  never  know  (never  will  integrate  into 
consciousness  the  realization)  that  they  are  in  essence  kevala: 
"serene,  supreme,  omniscient,  and  alone." 

The  recollection  of  this  truth  about  oneself,  which  comes  with 
the  disappearance  of  the  impairments,  leads  simultaneously  to 
the  attainment  of  supernormal  powers.  That  is  to  say,  these  pow- 
ers seem  to  be  supernormal  from  the  point  of  view  of  our  naive 
and  worldly,  "normal"  life;  but  when  one  reads  the  texts  in  which 
they  are  described,  it  is  impossible  not  to  feel  that  they  should 
perhaps  be  regarded  not  as  supernormal  at  all,  but  as  attributes 
of  the  pristine  reality  of  our  nature  that  in  the  course  of  yoga 
become  restored  to  us.  They  are  not  extras— miraculous  additions 
bestowed  on  the  perfected  saint— but  man's  original  property. 
They  are  portions  of  the  human  heritage,  withheld  from  us  as 
long  as  we  dwell  under  the  pall  of  the  impairments.  To  read 
about  these  powers  is  to  gain  a  sense  of  what  we  are  being  de- 


prived  of  by  the  klesas;  for  when  the  yogi  wins  access  to  them, 
he  comes  into  possession  like  someone  taking  title  to  rights  and 
faculties  that  always  had  belonged  to  him  in  his  character  as  Man 
(purusa,  alman,  purhs). 

The  traditional  simile  is  that  of  the  "King's  Son"  (rajaputra) 
who  did  not  know  that  he  was  of  royal  blood  and  by  rights  a 
king.  That  is  to  say,  there  is  no  bondage  fundamentally,  no  re- 
lease; we  arc  by  nature  free.  It  is  only  an  illusion  that  we  are 
bound.  When  the  yogi  attains  to  knowledge,  no  fundamental 
change  takes  place  in  his  essence;  only  his  outlook  undergoes  the 
change— his  understanding  of  what  is  "real."  He  dismisses  the 
superimposed  wrong  notions  about  the  underlying  reality  of  him- 
self  and  everything  else,  and  with  that  comes  into  possession  of 
all  that  he  in  essence  is:  rajaputravat,  "like  the  King's  Son." s" 
The  reference  of  the  simile  is  to  the  following  symbolic  talc. 

"There  was  a  king's  son,  once  upon  a  time,  who,  having  been 
born  under  an  unlucky  star,  was  removed  from  the  capital  while 
still  a  babe,  and  reared  by  a  primitive  tribesman,  a  mountaineer, 
outside  the  pale  of  the  Brahman  civilization  [i.e.,  as  an  outcaste, 
uneducated,  ritually  unclean].  He  therefore  lived  for  many  years 
under  the  false  notion:  'I  am  a  mountaineer.'  In  due  time,  how- 
ever, the  old  king  died.  And  since  there  was  nobody  eligible  to 
assume  the  throne,  a  certain  minister  of  state,  ascertaining  that 
the  boy  that  had  been  cast  away  into  the  wilderness  some  years 
before  was  still  alive,  went  out,  searched  the  wilderness,  traced 
the  youth,  and,  having  found  him,  instructed  him:  'Thou  art  not 
a  mountaineer;  thou  art  the  King's  Son.'  Immediately,  the  youth 
abandoned  the  notion  that  he  was  an  outcaste  and  took  to  him- 
self his  royal  nature.  He  said  to  himself:  'I  am  a  king.' 

"So  likewise,"  the  text  continues,  "following  the  instruction  of 
a  merciful  being  [the  guru],  who  declares:  'Thou  didst  originate 
from  the  Primal  Man  (adipurusa),  that  universal  divine  life- 
monad  which  manifests  itself  through  pure  consciousness  and  is 

26  Sdnkhya-sutras  4.  1. 



spiritually  all-embracing  and  sell-contained;  thou  art  a  portion 
of  that,'  an  intelligent  person  abandons  the  mistake  of  supposing 
himself  to  be  a  manifestation  or  product  of  prakrti,  and  cleaves 
to  his  own  intrinsic  being  (svasvarupam).  He  then  says  to  him- 
self: 'Since  I  am  the  son  of  Brahman,  I  am  myself  Brahman.  1 
am  not  something  different  Irom  Brahman,  even  though  caught 
in  this  bondage  ol  the  round  ol  birth  and  death.'  "  2' 

In  this  version  of  the  ancient  tale  the  figure  is  expressed  ac- 
cording to  the  uondual  formula  of  Vedanta:  Thou  art  That  (tat 
tvam  asi).  "Thou  art  the  universal,  only  Self,  though  unaware  of 
it."  This  is  the  Buddhist  message  too:  "All  things  are  Buddha- 
things."  "*  Sarhsara,  the  realm  of  birth  and  death,  is  but  a  vast, 
spread-out  illusion,  a  cosmic  dream  from  which  one  must  awake. 
Cast  away,  therefore,  this  state  of  ignorance,  be  rid  of  the  notion 
that  thou  art  an  outcaste  in  the  wilderness.  Mount  thy  proper 
throne.  This  is  also  the  lesson  of  Sankhya  and  Yoga— but  here,  as 
we  have  already  seen,  the  purusa  is  not  identified  with  the  "First 
Purusa"  (adipurusa),  the  Primal  Man,  the  World  Ground  (Brah- 
man), but  is  detached,  isolated,  and  omnipotent,  because  alone. 

The  King's  Son  becomes  aware  of  what  he  has  always  been  un- 
consciously. Nothing  changes  in  the  sphere  of  facts;  only  con- 
sciousness, his  notion  of  what  he  is,  becomes  transformed.  The 
instant  he  acquires  "discriminating  knowledge"  (viveka)  a  dis- 
tinction is  revealed  between  his  true  nature  and  the  accidental 
mask  that  he  took  on  as  a  member  of  his  wild  and  outcaste  hunt- 
ing tribe— like  the  realization  experienced  by  the  tiger-fosterling 
among  the  goats.™  Accepting  the  reality  of  his  character  as  now 
perceived,  the  King's  Son  recovers  himself  and  becomes  isolated 
(kaivalya)  from  the  earlier  biography  and  all  that  it  contained, 

27  Compare  Calderon's  seventeenth-century  Spanish  version  ol  the  story 
of  the  King's  Son  in  his  celebrated  play,  La  Vida  «  Suefio,  "Life  Is  a 

28  Vajracckedikd  19.  Cf.  infra,  pp.  545-546. 
50  Cf.  supra,  pp.  5-8. 



discarding  the  mask  o£  that  apparent  personality.  And  the  past 
simply  falls  away.  The  King's  Son  rises  from  his  former  life  as 
from  a  dream,  and  in  the  broad  daylight  of  his  new  realization 
really  feels  that  he  is  a  king's  son,  possessing  royal  powers  and 
prerogatives.  He  is  united,  at  last,  with  the  hidden  fullness  of  his 
own  true  nature  (kaivalyn),  and  is  never  again  to  be  touched  by 
the  crude  disfigurements  that  shrouded  his  supreme  perfection 
throughout  his  eailier  career. 

The  relationship  ot  this  Indian  illustration  of  a  spiritual  prin- 
ciple to  the  modern  Western  science  of  psychoanalysis  is  obvious. 
Following  the  dissipation  of  the  repressing  factor  ("impairment," 
"fixation"),  self-recollection  is  automatic.  A  single  deep-rooted 
mistake  having  been  destroyed,  a  whole  context  of  beclouding 
ignorance  dissolves,  and  the  life  is  changed.  Such  an  awakening 
completely  and  immediately  transforms  both  one's  own  face  and 
the  appearance  of  the  world. 

In  this  Indian  tale  it  is  not  expressly  stated  that  the  prince 
killed  his  father,  and  yet  the  parallel  to  the  tragedy  of  Oedipus 
is  apparent.  The  Oriental  prince,  we  are  told,  was  delivered  into 
exile  because  he  was  a  threat  to  his  father's  reign  and  realm; 
which  is  as  much  as  to  say,  a  threat  to  his  father's  life.  In  Indian 
history,  as  everywhere  else,  the  regency  of  despotic  father-kings 
was  always  endangered  by  the  birth  of  a  son.  Kautilya,  in  his 
treatise  on  the  science  of  politics,  the  Arthcdastra,  discussed  this 
danger  as  a  classic  problem.  In  Book  I,  Chapters  XVII-XVIII, 
he  summarized  exhaustively  the  classic  techniques  for  dealing 
with  it.  We  have  already  noted  the  case  of  the  son  who  killed  his 
father  from  a  hiding  place  beneath  his  mother's  bed.80  Oriental 
history  abounds  in  family  romances  of  this  kind. 

The  great  King  Bimbisara,  in  his  old  age,  was  blinded  by  his 
son  Ajiitasatru,  who  then  kept  him  captive  in  a  dungeon  to  avoid 
the  capital  crime  of  pat  ricide.  And  in  the  Moslem  period  (accord- 
ing to  an  account  by  ibn-Batuta),  the  sturdy  old  Shah  Ghiyas- 

30  Supra,  p.  125. 



ud-din  Tughlak,  on  his  return  to  Tughlakabad,  the  capital  that 
he  had  built  for  himself  south  of  Delhi,  and  to  his  big  treasure- 
house  there,  was  killed  by  the  fall  of  a  roof  treacherously  planned 
by  his  son,  Ulugh  Khan,  who  had  already  (during  the  Warangal 
expedition)  shown  flagrant  disloyalty  to  his  sire.  Thus,  in  1325, 
Ulugh  Khan  ascended  the  throne  of  Delhi,  with  the  title  Moham- 
med Tughlak,  over  the  corpse  of  his  murdered  father.31  The 
celebrated  Mughul  emperor  Shah  Jahan,  the  builder  of  the  Taj 
Mahal,  was  dethroned  by  Aurangzeb,  his  son,  in  1658,  and  kept  a 
prisoner  until  his  death  in  i6Ci6.s-  And  we  know  that  King  Asoka. 
fol  lowing  the  quick  advice  of  his  incomparable  minister  Kaufilya, 
forestalled  a  like  danger  by  having  his  son  Kunala  placed  under 
guard  in  a  frontier  fortress,  where  the  young  prince  was  deprived 
of  his  eyesight.  In  this  particular  instance,  apparently,  as  no 
doubt  in  many  others  of  the  kind,  the  catastrophe  was  the  result 
of  an  intrigue  by  the  queen— much  like  the  one  described  in  the 
classic  legend  of  Phaedra  and  Hippolytos.  The  youth  had  re- 
jected his  stepmother's  love,  which  presumably  would  have  en- 
tailed the  murder  of  his  father  and  his  own  assumption  of  the 
throne  with  the  queen  as  consort;  then,  when  he  had  been  cast 
into  a  cell,  the  queen  sent  the  guard  an  ambiguous  order,  which 
was  read  as  a  command  to  deprive  the  young  prisoner  of  his 

What  the  science  of  psychoanalysis  treats  as  the  basic  pattern 
of  an  ambivalent  father-son  relationship,  relegated  more  or  less 
to  the  unconscious  but  discoverable  in  dreams  and  other  spon- 
taneous manifestations,  has  through  the  ages  been  a  practically 

81  Cf.  supra,  p.  111  (ibn-Batuta,  Vol.  Ill,  pp.  212-213). 

82  Encyclopaedia  of  Islam,  1934,  Vol.  IV,  p.  257. 

88  Asokavadana  2.  3.  1.  (Translated  by  J.  Przyluski,  La  legend?  de  Vem- 
pereur  Acoka,  dans  les  texles  indiens  el  chinois,  Annales  du  Musee 
Guimct,  bibliothcque  deludes,  tome  32,  Paris,  1923,  pp.  28iff.)  Cf.  also 
Vincent  A.  Smith,  Atoka,  The  Buddhist  Emperor  of  India,  Oxford,  1901, 
pp.  188-189. 



perpetual  pattern  of  kingly  life.  It  is  found  amply  illustrated  in 
Greek  mythology,  where  it  is  a  reflection  of  the  early,  prc-Aryan 
history  of  the  Pelasgian  dynasties,  and  in  Roman  history  too,  as 
rendered  in  the  volumes  of  Tacitus,  Suetonius,  and  Gibbon.  The 
God  Zeus  renounced  the  goddess  Thetis  when  he  understood  that 
a  son  of  hers  was  to  do  away  with  him,  as  he  had  done  away  with 
his  own  father,  Kronos;  and  the  aged  king  of  Argos,  Acrisius, 
confined  his  daughter  Danae  to  a  tower,  when  an  oracle  declared 
that  her  son  (as  yet  not  even  conceived)  would  kill  him. 

The  motif  is  a  basic  one,  known  to  all  humanity.  And  the  phi- 
losophers have  utilized  it,  practically  everywhere,  as  a  telling  fig- 
ure for  the  individual's  coming  into  his  own.  The  physical  father 
and  the  sphere  of  his  heritage  (i.e.,  the  whole  domain  of  the  phys- 
ical senses  and  organs  of  reason,  as  well  as  the  inherited  customs 
and  prejudices  of  one's  race)  must  be  put  aside  before  one  can 
enter  into  the  full  possession  of  one's  intrinsic  self.  In  the  parable 
of  the  King's  Son,  as  in  that  of  the  tiger  among  the  herd  of  goats, 
this  metaphor  is  softened,  but  at  the  same  time  rendered  even 
more  vivid,  by  a  representation  of  the  life  to  be  transcended  as 
that  of  a  foster  parent,  while  the  royal  and  tiger  natures  remain 
as  symbols  of  the  reality  to  be  reassumed.  This  is  a  common  trans- 
fer and  amelioration  of  the  traditional  metaphor."  The  symbol- 
ized meaning  is  that  in  order  to  become  integrated,  isolated, 
realized,  and  fully  mature  (kevala),  a  candidate  for  wisdom  must 
break  the  spell  of  simply  everything  that  his  mind  and  feelings 
have  ever  imagined  to  be  his  own. 

For  the  ultimate  and  real  task  of  philosophy,  according  to  In- 
dian thought,  and  to  such  classical  Occidental  philosophers  as 
Plato,  transcends  the  power  and  task  of  reason.  Access  to  truth 
demands  a  passage  beyond  the  compass  of  ordered  thought.  And 
by  the  same  token:  the  teaching  of  transcendent  truth  cannot  be 

84  For  a  multitude  of  eloquent  examples,  d.  Otto  Rank,  The  Myth  of 
the  Birth  of  the  Hero,  Nervous  and  Mental  Disease  Monograph  Series, 
No.  18,  New  York,  1914. 


by  logic,  but  only  by  piegnant  paradox  and  by  symbol  and  image. 
Where  a  carefully  reasoning  thinker,  progressing  step  by  step, 
would  be  forced  to  halt  (out  of  breath,  as  it  were,  at  the  confines 
of  the  stratosphere,  panting  for  lack  of  oxygen,  swooning  with 
pulmonary  and  cardiac  distress)  the  mind  can  still  go  on.  The 
mind  can  soar  and  enter  the  supernal  sphere  on  the  wings  of 
symbols,  which  represent  the  Truth-bcyond-the-pairs-of-oppo- 
sites,  eluding  by  those  wings  the  bird-net  of  the  basic  principle 
of  cauhhound  human  logic,  the  pedestrian  principle  of  the 
incompatibility  of  oppositcs.  For  what  "transcendent"  means  is 
the  transcending  (among  other  things)  of  the  bounding  and 
basic  logical  laws  of  the  human  mind. 

"Transcendent"  means  that  a  principle  is  in  effect  that  com- 
prehends the  identity  of  apparently  incompatible  elements,  rep- 
resenting a  union  of  things  which  on  the  logical  level  exclude 
each  other.  Transcendent  truth  comprehends  an  ever-recurrent 
"coincidence  of  opposites"  (coincidentia  oppositorum)  and  is 
characterized,  therefore,  by  an  everlastingdialcctical  process.  The 
secret  identity  of  incompatible^  is  mockingly  disclosed  through 
a  constant  transformation  of  things  into  their  antitheses— antago- 
nism being  but  the  screen  of  a  cryptic  identity.  Behind  the  screen 
the  contending  forces  are  in  harmony,  the  world-dynamism  qui- 
escent, and  the  paradox  of  a  union  of  contrary  traits  and  forces 
stands  realized  in  tolo;  for  where  the  One  and  the  Many  are 
identical,  eternal  Being  is  known,  which  is  at  once  the  source 
and  the  force  of  the  abundant  diversity  of  the  world's  perpetual 

Though  called  the  true  and  only  Being  (sat),  this  Transcendent 
is  known  also  as  non-Being  (asat);  for  it  is  that  ineffable  point 
"wherefrom  words  turn  back,  together  with  the  mind,  not  having 
attained"  "—as  birds  flying  to  reach  the  sun  are  compelled  to  re- 
turn. And  yet,  on  the  other  hand:  "He  who  knows  that  bliss  of 
Brahman  has  no  fear  of  anything  at  all.  Such  a  one,  verily,  the 

•B  Taittirtya  Upanifad  a.  9;  cf.  Hume,  p.  *8g. 



thought  docs  not  torment:  'Why  did  I  not  do  the  right?  Why  did  I 
do  evil?'  He  who  knows  thus,  extricates  himself  from  both  of.  these 
questions,  and  secures  the  Self  for  himself  by  setting  it  free."  *• 

Sahkhya  Psychology 

In  the  form  of  Saiikhya  and  Yoga  the  pre-Aryan,  dualistk- 
rcalistic  philosophy  and  cosmology  of  the  life-monads  versus  the 
life-matter  of  the  universe  became  acceptable,  eventually,  to 
Brahman  orthodoxy.  It  even  came  to  constitute  one  of  the  most 
important  portions  of  the  comprehensive  classic  Hindu  philo- 
sophical tradition.  Nevertheless,  Kapila,  the  mythical  founder  of 
the  Saiikhya  doctrine,  was  at  first  regarded  as  heterodox,  and  the 
names  of  no  Brahman  teachers  of  the  Vedic  line  appear  among 
the  earlier  expounders  of  Saiikhya  and  Yoga.  In  fact,  the  basic 
incompatibility  of  the  nondual  idealism  of  Vedanta  with  the 
dualistic-pluralistic  realism  of  Saiikhya  and  Yoga  can  still  be  felt 
—even  in  the  Bhagavad  Gila;  though  indeed  one  of  the  main 
features  of  that  great  synthesizing  scripture  is  its  employment, 
side  by  side,  of  the  languages  of  the  two  contrary  traditions,  to 
make  the  point  that  they  are  not  intrinsically  at  variance.  In  the 
fifteenth  century,  in  the  Vedantasara,^  and  again  in  the  sixteenth, 
in  the  writings  of  Vijfianabhiksu,08  the  two  philosophies  are  pre- 
sented simultaneously,  on  the  theory  that  they  represent  the  one 

:!0  lb.,  continuation. 

87  Cf.  supra,  pp.  51-56;  infra,  pp.  415ft. 

88  Cf.  supra,  p.  290,  note  10. 



truth  from  two  points  of  view.  In  fact,  lite  protagonists  of  the 
two  schools  have  collaborated  in  India  for  centuries,  borrowing 
major  conceptions  from  eacli  other  for  the  purpose  of  expound- 
ing the  mysteries  of  the  way  to  their  common  goal  of  moksa.39 

It  would  hardly  have  been  possible  for  the  masters  of  the  ortho- 
dox Brahman  tradition  to  accept  and  assimilate  the  teachings  of 
the  non-Vedic  aboriginal  lore  without  this  Sarikhya-Yoga  spiritu- 
ali/ation  of  the  conception  of  the  relationship  between  life-matter 
and  the  life-monads.  Jainism,  as  we  have  seen,  viewed  the  inter- 
action of  the  two  principles  in  terms  of  a  kind  of  subtle  chemis- 
try, as  a  material  piocess  of  pervasion  and  suffusion,  a  tingcing  of 
the  crystal  of  the  life-monad  by  contamination  with  a  subtle 
karmic  substance;  but  in  the  Yoga-sutras  no  such  concrete  process 
is  described.  Here,  rather,  is  a  kind  of  optical  effect— a  psycho- 
logical illusion— which  makes  it  appear  that  the  iife-monad  is 
in  bondage,  tiapped  in  karmic  meshes,  caught  in  the  unceasing 
activities  of  the  various  aspects  of  matter  (the  gunas),40  whereas, 
actually,  it  is  ever  free.  Bondage  is  but  an  illusion,  which  our 
limited  and  limiting  minds  entertain  concerning  the  condition 
of  our  transcendent,  changeless,  and  untainted  Self. 

Sarikhya  and  Yoga,  however,  in  contrast  to  the  orthodox  Brah- 
man view,  regard  the  activity  of  (he  gunas  as  no  less  real,  no  less 
self-sustaining,  than  the  transcendent  repose  of  the  life-monad. 
Matter  {prakrti,  which  is  composed  of  the  gunas)  really  shrouds 
the  life-monad;  it  is  no  mere  illusory,  miragelike  supcrim posi- 
tion. The  activities  of  the  gunas  are  transitory  in  so  far  as  their 
changing  details  arc  concerned,  but  enduring  in  their  continuous 
passage  itself.  Nevertheless,  within  the  sphere  of  each  individual, 
the  effects  of  the  gunas  can  be  brought  to  a  state  of  "cessation" 

8»The  principal  link  between  the  two  traditions,  at  least  from  the 
period  of  the  Upanisads  and  Bhagavad  Gild,  has  been  the  doctrine  that 
self-surrender  (bhakii),  should  be  practiced  a«  a  preliminary  step  to  self- 

*<*  Ci.  supra,  pp.  295-297- 



(nirodha):  in  consequence  of  a  kind  of  optical  readjustment,  a 
realization  can  be  attained  of  the  remoteness  of  the  life-monad 
from  all  that  appears  to  be  entering  into  it  and  giving  it  color; 
for  though  matter  and  its  activities  (prakrti  and  the  gunas)  are 
real,  the  involvement  of  the  life-monad  (purusa)  in  them  is  illu- 
sory, like  the  presence  of  a  man  within  the  frame  and  matler  of 
a  mirror.  The  purusa  is  separated  from  the  shifting  play  of  the 
gunas  by  a  gulf  of  heterogeneity  not  to  be  bridged,  even  though 
the  purusa  and  the  gunas  are  equally  real.  This  is  a  theory  sub- 
stantially at  variance  with  the  nondualisrn  of  the  Vcdantic  view.41 
Yoga  can  be  defined  as  a  discipline  designed  to  yield  an  experi- 
ence of  the  sovereign  aloofness  and  isolation  of  the  supra  personal 
nucleus  of  our  being,  by  stilling  the  spontaneous  actnities  of 
matter,  which,  in  the  form  of  the  bodily  and  psychic  shell,  nor- 
mally overlie  the  life-monad.  Yoga  is  founded  on,  and  demon- 
strates, a  doctrine  of  psychological  fuuctionalism.  It  creates  and 
then  transcends  and  dissolves  various  planes,  or  worlds,  of  experi- 
ence, and  thus  makes  known  the  relativity  of  all  states  of  reality; 
for  when  the  inner  world  is  seen  to  be  hut  a  function  of  the 
inner  psychic  organs,  then  the  outer,  visible  and  tangible  uni- 
verse can  be  understood,  by  analogy,  to  be  but  the  consequence 
of  an  operation  outward  of  the  energies  of  the  outer  organs.  By 
permitting  energies  to  flow  through  those  organs,  and  by  then 
withdrawing  the  same  energies  to  inner  spheres,  no  less  immedi- 
ate and  "real,"  the  external  world  is  experienced  as  something 
that  can  be  contacted  at  will,  and  therewith  built  up,  or  cut  off 
byyogic  effort,  and  therewith  dissolved.  All  depends  on  whether 
one's  sense-faculties  are  addressed  to,  or  withdrawn  from,  their 
usual  "planes  of  projection"  (ayalana). 

A  sovereign  independence  from  all  the  pairs  of  opposites 
(dvandva)  that  assail  and  seduce  man  from  without  is  prerequisite 
to  the  control  and  experience  of  this  functionalism.  Only  by  an 
accomplished  yogi,  in  perfect  control  of  the  microcosm  of  him- 

41  Cf.  infra,  pp.  409S. 



self,  can  the  entities  belonging  to  the  macrocosmic  realm  of  name 
and  form  be  dissolved  and  summoned  back  again  at  will.  For  the 
human  mind,  with  its  contents  and  wisdom,  is  conditioned,  in 
every  specific  case,  by  the  peculiar  balance  of  the  gunas  within 
the  character  and  disposition  of  the  given  individual.  His  ideas, 
beliefs,  and  insights,  and  even  the  things  that  he  sees  around  him, 
arc,  finally,  but  the  functions  or  reflexes  of  his  particular  manner 
of  not-knowing-better.  This  avidya  is  the  bird-net  in  which  he 
is  at  once  caught  and  supported  as  a  personality.  And  even  his 
after-death  experiences  will  be  determined  by  this  limitation, 
which  intangibly  bounds  and  binds  his  being." 

According  to  the  analysis  of  the  psyche  rendered  by  the 
Sankhya,  and  taken  foT  granted  in  the  disciplines  of  Yoga,  man 
is  "active"  (kartar)  through  the  five  "organs  of  action"  and  "re- 
ceptive" (bhoktar)  through  the  five  "organs  of  perception."  These 
two  sets  of  five  are  the  vehicles,  respectively,  of  his  spontaneity 
and  receptivity.  They  are  known  as  the  "faculties  working  out- 
ward" (bahyeudriya)  and  function  as  so  many  gates  and  doors, 
while  "intellect"  (rnanas),  "egoity"  (ahankara),  and  "judgment" 
(buddhi)  stand  as  the  doorkeepers.  The  latter  three,  taken  to- 
gether, constitute  the  so-called  "inner  organ"  (antahkarana);  they 
are  the  powers  that  open  and  close  the  gates— inspecting,  control- 
ling, and  registering  whatever  is  carried  through. 

The  body  is  described  as  a  town  or  kingly  palace  in  which  the 
king  dwells  inactive  (according  to  the  Oriental  style)  amidst  the 
activities  of  his  staff.  The  outer  sense-faculties  are  compared  to 
village  chieftains,  levying  taxes  on  the  householders,  collecting 
and  handing  the  taxes  over  to  the  local  governor.  He,  in  his 
turn,  hands  them  to  the  finance  minister;  whereupon  the  latter 
presents  them  to  the  chancellor  of  the  king.  The  experiences  of 
the  senses,  that  is  to  say,  are  collected  and  registered  through 

42  Swedenborg's  idea  of  life  and  death  is  an  exact  counterpart  of  this 
karma  theory  of  Sankhya  and  Yoga. 



manas,  appropriated  by  ahankara,  and  then  delivered  to  buddhi, 
the  "chancellor"  of  the  king  purusa. 

The  various  sense-faculties  are  mutually  antagonistic,  yet  they 
co-operate  automatically— like  the  Name,  the  wick,  and  the  oil  ot 
a  lamp  in  dispelling  darkness  and  giving  light  to  the  shapes  and 
colors  round  about.  The  ten  "faculties  working  outward" 
(bahyendriya)  are  classed,  as  we  have  seen,  in  two  groups: 
1.  that  of  the  five  "faculties  of  receptivity  or  apprehending" 
(jvanendriya),  which  are,  namely,  seeing,  hearing,  smelling, 
tasting,  and  touch,  and  a.  that  of  the  live  "faculties  of  spontane- 
ity or  action"  (karmendriya)— speech,  grasping,  walking,  evacu- 
ating, and  procreating.*3  The  faculties  themselves  are  of  subtle 
matter  but  the  organs  in  which  they  have  their  scats  are  of  gioss; 
the  faculties  fas  distinguished  from  the  organs)  being  not  perccp 
tible,  yet  inferable  from  their  activities.  Rajas  guna  prevails  in 
those  of  action,  while  in  those  of  perception,  sattva  guna  prevails. 

Since  the  "intellect"  (manas)  co-operates  directly  with  the  ten 
faculties,  ii  is  reckoned  as  number  eleven  and  is  termed  "the 
inner  sense"  (autar-indriya).  As  we  have  said,  it  is  comparable  to 
the  local  governor  who  collects  the  experiences  of  the  outer 
senses  and  piesents  them  to  the  finance  minister  (ahankara,  the 
ego  function),  whence  they  go  to  the  chancellor  (buddhi,  the  fac- 
ulty of  judgment).  Manas,  ahankara,  and  buddhi  together  con- 
stitute the  "inner  organ"  (anlah-kararia),  which  is  declared  to  be 
of  "medium  size"  (madhyama-parhnana),  neither  small  nor  im- 
mense. And  from  this  threefold  organ  proceed  the  activities  of 
the  "vital  airs,"  which  are  known  through  the  following  five 
manifestations:  **  i.prana,  the  "forward  breathing,"  or  exhaling 
air,  which  pervades  the  whole  organism,  from  the  tip  of  the  big 
toe  through  the  navel  and  heart  to  the  tip  of  the  nose;  2.  apana, 
the  "opposite  or  downward  breathing,"  the  inhaling  air,  which 

43  Cf.  supra,  p.  228. 

44  N.B.  These  five  vital  airs  are  not  "gross"  but  "subtle,"  and  not  to  be 
confused  with  the  breathing  of  the  pulmonary  system. 



prevails  in  the  throat,  back  ribs,  intestinal  canal,  sex  organs,  and 
legs;  3.  samana,  the  "equalizing  breath,"  which  digests  and  as- 
similates, and  is  centered  in  the  digestive  organs,  the  heart,  the 
navel,  and  all  the  joints;  4.  udana,  the  "ascending  breath," 
which  is  in  the  heart,  throat,  palate,  and  skull,  and  between  the 
eyebrows;  and  5.  vyana,  the  "pervading  breath,"  which  is  effec- 
tive in  the  circulation,  perspiration,  and  distiibution  of  the  life 
saps,  and  is  diffused  throughout  the  whole  physique.  These  five 
pranas  build  up  and  maintain  the  system  of  the  body,  but  are 
competent  to  do  so  only  by  virtue  of  the  kingly  presence  of 

Aharikara,  the  ego-function,  causes  us  to  believe  that  we  feel 
like  acting,  that  we  are  suffering,  etc.;  whereas  actually  our  real 
being,  the  purusa,  is  devoid  of  such  modifications.  Aharikara  is 
the  u'nter  and  prime  motivating  force  of  "delusion"  (abhimana). 
Aharikara  is  the  misconception,  conceit,  supposition,  or  belief 
that  refers  all  objects  and  acts  of  consciousness  to  an  "I"  (aham). 
Aharikara— "the  making  {hard)  of  the  utterance  '1'  (aham)"— 
accompanies  all  psychic  processes,  producing  the  misleading 
notion  "I  am  hearing;  I  am  seeing;  I  am  rich  and  mighty;  I  am 
enjoying;  1  am  about  to  suffer,"  etc.,  etc.  It  is  thus  the  prime 
cause  of  the  critical  "wrong  conception"  that  dogs  all  phe- 
nomenal experience;  the  idea,  namely,  that  the  life-monad 
(purusa)  is  implicated  in,  nay  is  identical  with,  the  processes  of 
living  matter  (prakrti).  One  is  continually  appropriating  to 
oneself,  as  a  result  of  aharikara,  everything  that  comes  to  pass  in 
the  realms  of  the  physique  and  psyche,  superimposing  perpetu- 
ally the  false  notion  (and  apparent  experience)  of  a  subject  (an 
"I")  of  all  the  deeds  and  sorrows.  Aharikara  is  characterized  by  a 
predominance  of  rajas  guna,  since  it  is  concerned,  primarily, 
with  doing. 

Buddhi,  on  the  other  hand,  is  predominantly  sattvic  (char- 
acterized by  a  predominance  of  sattva  guna);  for  it  is  the  faculty 
of  awareness.  Buddhi  is  termed  mahat,  "the  great  principle  or 


primary  substance";  also  malum,  "The  Great  One."  The  verbal 
root  budh  means  "to  wake,  to  rise  from  sleep,  to  come  to  one's 
senses  or  regain  consciousness;  to  perceive,  to  notice,  to 
recognize,  to  mark;  to  know,  understand,  or  comprehend;  to 
deem,  consider;  to  regard,  esteem;  to  think,  to  reflect."  Buddhi 
then  (the  gerund)  means  "returning  to  consciousness,  recover- 
ing from  a  swoon";  also,  "presence  of  mind,  readiness  of  wit, 
intention,  purpose,  design;  perception,  comprehension;  im- 
pression, belief,  idea,  feeling,  opinion;  intellect,  understanding, 
intelligence,  talent;  information,  knowledge;  discrimination, 
judgment,  and  discernment." 

According  to  the  Sarikhya,  buddhi  is  the  faculty  of  what  is 
known  as  adhyavasdya,  i.e.,  "determination,  resolution,  mental 
effort;  awareness,  feeling,  opinion,  belief,  knowledge,  discrimi- 
nation, and  decision."  All  of  these  spiritual  processes  take  place 
within  man,  yet  are  not  at  his  disposal  according  to  his  conscious 
will.  One  is  not  free  to  feel,  to  know,  and  to  think  precisely  as 
one  chooses.  This  means  that  buddhi  precedes  aharikara  both  in 
rank  and  in  power.  The  modes  of  judgment  and  experience,  ac- 
cording to  which  we  react  to  impressions,  control  us  more  than 
we  them;  we  are  not  in  a  position  to  take  or  leave  them.  They 
appear  from  within,  as  manifestations  of  the  subtle  substance  of 
our  own  character;  they  are  the  very  constitution  of  that  char- 
acter. Hence  it  is  that,  though  when  making  a  derision  we  may 
suppose  ourselves  to  be  free  and  following  reason,  actually 
what  we  are  following  is  the  lead  of  buddhi,  our  own  "uncon- 
scious" nature. 

Buddhi  comprises  the  totality  of  our  emotional  and  intellec- 
tual possibilities.  These  stand  in  store— beyond,  and  as  the  back- 
ground of,  our  ego-function.  They  constitute  that  total  nature 
which  is  continually  becoming  conscious  (i.e.,  manifest  to  our 
ego)  through  all  the  acts  denoted  by  the  term  buddhi.  As  a  great 
reservoir  of  the  permanent  raw-materials  of  our  nature,  which 
are  continually  presented  to  consciousness  and  the  ego-func- 


tion  from  within,  buddhi  is  manifold  in  its  products  and  utter- 
ances, wonderful  in  its  all-inclusiveness;  that  is  why  it  is  termed 
"The  Great  One,"  rnahan.  Furthermore,  through  the  synonyms 
for  buddhi  in  popular  literature,  the  amplitude  of  its  supra- 
personal  abundance  is  again  declared;  for  these  give  expression 
to  the  various  aspects  under  which  it  becomes  manifest.  Buddhi 
is  popularly  known  as  manas: "  "mind,  understanding,  intelli- 
gence, perception,  and  cognition";  also  as  mat:  "knowledge, 
judgment,  resolution,  determination;  intention,  purpose,  design; 
esteem,  regard;  counsel,  advice;  remembrance,  recollection." 
Within  this  great  storehouse  of  our  psychic  potentialities,  our 
intellectual,  volitional,  emotional,  and  intuitive  faculties  are 
assembled  side  by  side.  Hence  "The  Great  One"  (makan)  is 
known  also  as  prajnd,  "wisdom,  discernment";  dhi,  "intuition, 
visualization,  imagination,  fancy";  khyati,  "knowledge,  the 
power  of  distinguishing  objects  by  appropriate  names";  smrti, 
"remembrance,  memory";  and  prajnana-santati,  "the  continuity 
of  knowing."  Buddhi  renders  the  unconscious  manifest— through 
every  possible  kind  of  creative  and  analytical  psychic  process; 
and  these  processes  are  activated  from  within.  That  is  why  we 
become  aware  of  the  sum  total  of  our  own  nature  only  a  poste- 
riori, through  its  manifestations  and  reactions  in  the  forms  of 
feelings,  recollections,  intuitions,  ideas,  and  the  choices  that  we 
make  through  the  intellect  or  will. 

Still  another  common  synonym  for  buddhi  is  citta.  Citta,  the 
participle  of  the  verb  cint/cit,  "to  think,"  denotes  whatever  is 
experienced  or  enacted  through  the  mind.  Citta  comprises  1. 
observing,  2.  thinking,  and  g.  desiring  or  intending;  that  is  to 
say,  the  functions  of  both  the  reasoning  faculty  and  the  heart. 
For,  normally,  the  two  behave  as  one,  closely  knit  in  the  soul- 
substance  of  our  nature.  Thought,  when  it  surges  to  the  mind, 
is  both  directed  and  colored  by  our  emotional  biases  and  trends; 
and  this  to  such  a  degree  that  a  considerable  discipline  of  criti- 

«  The  terra  which  properly  refers  to  "intellect";  ct  supra,  p.  ji8. 


cism  and  concentration  is  required  before  one  can  learn  to  sep- 
arate reasoning  (for  example,  in  science)  from  the  movements 
of  the  heart. 

Buddhi  is  compounded  of  the  three  gunas,  but  by  means  of 
Yoga  sattva  guna  is  made  to  prevail."  Yogic  training  purges 
buddhi  of  its  original  inheritance  of  tamas  and  rajas.  With  the 
removal  of  the  first,  darkness  is  removed,  and  the  subtle  matter 
of  buddhi  becomes  translucent,  like  the  waters  of  a  mountain 
lake.  With  the  removal  of  the  second,  agitation  is  removed,  and 
the  rippling  of  the  restless  surface  then  is  stilled,  so  that  the 
waters,  already  cleared,  become  a  steady  mirror.  Buddhi  then 
reveals  the  purusa  in  its  serene  unconcern,  aloof  from  the  busy, 
rippling  sphere  of  prakrti. 

Buddhi  both  contains  and  is  the  spontaneity  of  our  nature; 
the  other  faculties  (aharikara,  manas,  and  the  ten  indriyas)  are 
"like  bees,  which  follow  the  advice  of  their  kings."  *7  Yet  to  all 
appearances  the  influence  runs  in  the  opposite  direction:  the 
outer  senses  come  in  contact  with  their  environment;  their  ex- 
periences arc  digested  by  manas;  the  product  of  manas  is  brought 
through  ahaiikara  into  relation  to  one's  individuality;  and  then 
buddhi  decides  what  is  to  be  done.  The  primacy  of  buddhi  thus 
is  heavily  obscured.  Only  with  the  removal  of  rajas  and  tamas 
does  the  veil  become  transparent;  for  the  powers  that  then  pour 
into  the  human  organism  are  the  "supranormal"  ones  of  the 
King's  Son,  and  buddhi  is  revealed  in  its  innate  strength.  Be- 
fore such  an  effect  can  be  attained,  however,  the  apparent  con- 
nection of  the  life-monad  with  suffering  must  be  broken.  The 
illusion  of  a  connection  is  caused,  as  we  have  seen,  by  an  absence 
of  discrimination,  a  failure  to  recognize  the  distinction  between 
purusa  and  prakrti— particularly  between  purusa  and  that  most 
subtle  of  the  products  of  prakrti,  the  inner  organ  and  the  ten 
faculties  of  sense.  Since  this  lack  of  "discriminative  knowledge" 

46  Cf.  supra,  pp.  301-305. 

"  There  is  no  queen  bee  according  to  the  nature  lore  of  the  Hindus. 


(viveka)  is  the  cause,  obviously  a  sufficiency  will  be  the  end  of 
the  experience  of  suffering.  Viveka  makes  it  possible  for  the  in- 
dividual to  distinguish  between  his  own  life-principle  and  the 
indifferent  matter  that  Hows  around  it. 

The  matter  stops  being  active,  furthermore,  the  moment  one 
becomes  identified  with  purusa;  therefore  prakrti  in  action 
through  the  gunas  is  compared  to  a  dancing  girl  of  the  seraglio, 
who  ceases  dancing  the  moment  the  onlooker  loses  interest. 
She  withdraws  from  the  presence  of  the  king  when  he  becomes 
bored  with  her  exhibition  of  the  world's  delights  and  pains. 
Working  through  die  gunas,  prakrti  exhibits  the  wonders  that 
we  know  and  love,  or  feel  as  suffering,  but  the  eye  that  gives 
energy  to  the  spectacle  is  the  all-illuminating  eye  of  purusa,  and 
the  moment  this  returns  to  itself,  the  world-scene  disappears. 

Because  the  subtle  matter  of  the  inner  organ  assumes  all  the 
forms  presented  to  it  by  the  senses,  objects  tend  to  give  to  the 
mind  a  shape  or  character  and  to  leave  on  it  an  impression,  or 
"memory,"  more  or  less  permanent.  Not  only  the  shape  of  the 
object  itself,  but  also  the  associated  feelings  and  thoughts,  as 
well  as  the  will  and  determination  to  act  that  it  aroused,  re- 
main as  vestiges,  and  these  may  be  reanimated  at  a  later  date 
by  the  impingement  of  something  new.  Tn  this  way  memories 
are  excited,  images  of  recollection  aroused,  and  continuities  of 
life-desire,  fear,  and  manners  of  conduct  founded.  The  psycho- 
logical process  is  understood  in  Sarikhya  and  Yoga,  that  is  to 
say.  in  strictly  mechanical  terms.  The  unceasing  agitation  ol 
transformation  brought  to  pass  in  the  inner  organ  through  per- 
ception, emotion,  thought,  and  will  is  not  different  in  kind 
from  the  changes  observable  in  the  outer  world.  The  transfor- 
mations are  material  in  both  spheres,  purely  mechanical  proc- 
esses taking  place  in  mattei,  the  sole  difference  being  that  in 
the  outer  world  (which  includes,  of  course,  the  body  of  the  sub- 
ject) the  matter  is  gross  whereas  in  the  inner  it  is  subtle. 

This  mechanistic  formula  is  of  the  essence  of  the  Sankhya, 


and  not  only  underlies  its  system  of  psychology  but  also  gives 
the  key  to  its  interpretation  of  the  mystery  of  metempsychosis. 
Within  the  gross  body,  which  suffers  dissolution  after  death, 
every  living  being  possesses  an  inner  subtle  body,  which  is 
formed  of  the  sense-faculties,  vital  breaths,  and  inner  organ. 
This  is  the  body  that  goes  on  and  on,  from  birth  to  birth,  as  the 
basis  and  vehicle  of  the  reincarnated  personality.48  It  departs 
from  the  sheath  of  the  gross  body  at  the  time  of  death,  and  then 
determines  the  nature  of  the  new  existence;  for  within  it  are 
left  the  traces— like  scars  or  furrows— of  all  the  perceptions,  acts, 
desires,  and  movements  of  will  of  the  past,  all  the  propensities 
and  trends,  the  heritage  of  habits  and  inclinations,  and  the  pe- 
culiar readinesses  to  react  this  way  or  that,  or  not  to  react  at  all. 

The  technical  terms  used  to  denote  these  reminders  of  the 
past  are  vasana  and  sarhskara.  The  former  word  (from  the  root 
vas,  "to  dwell  in,  to  abide")  can  be  used  to  refer  to  the  smell 
that  clings  to  a  cloth  that  has  been  perfumed  with  fragrant 
smoke.  A  vessel  of  unbaked  clay  retains  the  smell  of  whatever 
it  first  contained,  and  in  the  same  way  the  subtle  body  is  per- 
vaded by  the  vasanas  ("fragrances,  perfumes,  the  subtle  resi- 
dues") of  all  its  earlier  karma.  These  vasanas  tend  to  cause  saiiis- 
karas,  permanent  scars  that  go  from  life  to  life. 

The  noun  sarhskara,  signii>ing  "impression,  influence,  opera- 
tion, form,  and  mold,"  is  one  of  the  basic  terms  of  Indian  phi- 
losophy. It  is  derived  from  the  verbal  root  kr,  "to  make." 
Samskr  means  "to  make  ready,  to  fashion  to  some  use,  to  change 
or  transform";  the  opposite  idea  being  pra-kr—ct  prakzti: 
matter  as  it  is  at  hand,  presented  in  its  raw  or  virgin  state. 

*8  This  reincarnating  subtle  body  deserves  the  name  of  "soul"  much 
more  than  the  life-monad,  though  the  latter  is  what  has  been  constantly 
translated  "soul"  (by  Garbe  and  others).  And  yet  "soul"  is  not  quite  cor- 
rect here  either;  for  the  material  of  the  subtle  body  is  essentially  lifeless, 
senseless  (jada);  it  is  rather  a  body  than  a  soul.— Better,  when  translating 
from  the  Sanskrit,  not  to  use  our  animistic  Occidental  term. 


Prakfti  is  primal  virgin  matter,  on  which  no  change,  transfor- 
mation, or  evolution  has  yet  been  brought  to  pass.  Conversely, 
sams-kr  means  "to  transform  something,  to  adorn,  to  grace,  to 
decorate."  The  vernacular  speech  of  the  uneducated  is  known 
as  prukfta  (Engl.  "Prakrit")  while  samskfta  (Engl.  "Sanskrit") 
is  the  classic  language  of  the  rules  of  established,  correct  gram- 
mar, based  on  the  holy  tradition  of  the  priestly  language  of  the 
Vedas— which  in  turn  was  a  reflection  of  the  language  of  the 
gods,  and  so  a  natural  vehicle  of  divine  truth.  The  verb 
sathskr  means  "to  purify  a  person  by  means  of  script  ural  cere- 
monies,"  i.  e.,  to  change  him  from  an  ordinary  person,  a  mere 
human  being,  into  a  member  of  the  sacramental,  magic  com- 
munity, divested  of  his  former  crude  impurities,  and  made 
eligible  to  participate  in  traditional  ceremonials.  Sarhskara 
therefore  is  "purification,  purity;  investiture  with  the  sacred 
thread  of  the  twice-born,"  "  or,  in  general,  any  purificatory  rite 
or  sacred  ceremony;  but  also  "rooking,  the  dressing  of  food  (to 
make  it  more  palatable  and  attractive,  depriving  it  of  its  natural, 
unappetizing,  indigestible  'Taw  nature,'  prahrli),  the  polishing 
of  a  stone  or  jewel;  education,  cultivation,  training,  embellish- 
ment, decoration,  ornament,  and  make-up"  (the  lack  of  make-up 
is  permissible  for  housework,  labor,  and  rustic  toil,  but  not  for 
meeting  people;  for  it  would  indicate  a  lack  of  respect  and  self- 
esteem).  Samskara,  thus,  is  a  rich  and  highly  suggestive  term. 
Its  connotations  cluster  about  the  concept  of  "that  which  has 
been  wrought,  cultivated,  brought  to  form."  But  this,  in  the 
case  of  the  individual,  is  the  personality— with  all  its  character- 
istic adornments,  scars,  and  quirks— which  for  years,  indeed  for 
lifetimes,  has  been  in  the  process  of  concoction. 
Prakrti,  undeveloped,  primitive  matter,  if  left  to  itself,  would 

"The  members  of  the  three  upper  castes  are  the  "twice-born."  The 
ritual  of  investiture  with  the  sacred  thread,  performed  at  puberty,  sym- 
bolizes the  transformation  which  in  the  Christian  tradition  is  associated 
with  the  baptismal  font. 



be  characterized  by  a  perfect  equilibrium  of  the  gunas.  In  this 
state  there  would  be  no  play  of  transformation;  there  would  be 
no  world.  Tamas  (heaviness,  sloth,  obstruction),  rajas  (move- 
ment, excitation,  pain),  and  sattva  (lightness,  illumination,  joy) 
would  then  not  work  upon  each  other  but  lie  in  perfect  bal- 
ance and  remain  at  rest.  According  to  the  Sahkhya,  the  world 
is  not  the  result  of  any  act  of  a  Creator.  It  had  no  beginning  in 
time.  It  is  the  result,  rather,  of  an  unceasing  influence  on 
prakrti,  deriving  from  infinitely  numerous  individual  purusas. 
These  purusas  are  not  themselves  active;  they  only  contemplate, 
as  spectators,  the  movement  of  which  they  are  the  perpetual 
stimulation.  Nor  do  they  exert  their  influence  by  consciously 
willing.  Their  mere  presence  is  what  excites  prakrti  to  move- 
as  a  magnet  excites  iron.  "By  virtue  of  its  nearness"  the  life- 
monad  illuminates  the  field  and  processes  of  the  gunas.  By  its 
mere  radiance,  it  creates  a  kind  of  consciousness  in  the  subtle 
body.  "As  fire  in  a  red-hot  iron  ball,  so  is  consciousness  in  the 
material  of  life." 

This  dualism  is  fundamental  to  Sahkhya.  The  two  principles 
—prakrti  (composed  of  the  gunas)  and  purusa  (the  collectivity 
of  irradiant  but  inactive  life-monads)— are  accepted  as  eternal 
and  real  on  die  basis  of  the  fact  that  in  all  acts  and  theories 
of  knowledge  a  distinction  exists  between  subject  and  object, 
no  explanation  of  experience  being  possible  without  the  recog- 
nition of  a  knowing  self  as  well  as  of  an  object  known.  Accept- 
ing this  duality  as  basic  and  axiomatic,  Sahkhya  then  proceeds 
to  develop  an  "exhaustive  analytical  enumeration"  (pari- 
sahkhyana)  of  the  "principles  or  categories"  (tattva:  "thatnesses") 
of  nature,  as  these  have  been  evolved  in  the  unceasing  devel- 
opments and  combinations  of  inert  matter  under  the  uninter- 
rupted influence  of  the  brilliance  radiating  from  the  life-monads 
and  producing  consciousness.  Briefly,  this  evolution  of  the 
tattvas  may  be  summarized  in  the  following  way: 



(undifferentiated  pinna)  matin) 

Buddhi  /  Mahat 
(the  supiapeisonal  potentiality  of  experiences) 


(egoil):  a  function  appiopiijiinf-  ilie  data  of  consciousness 

and  wrongly  assigning  them  10  ptirusa) 

the  five  harmendrtya       manas      the  five  jnSnendiiya        the  five  tan-mStra^ 
(ilie  faculties  of      (ilie  faculty      (the  faculties  of      (the  subtle,  primary  ele- 
action)  of  though  I)  sense)  incnts:     realized     as     the 

inner,  subtle  counterparts 
of  the  five  sense  experi- 
ences, viz.,  sound,  touch, 
color-shape,  flavor,  smell: 
sabda,  sparta,  rupa,  rSsn, 

(subtle  atoms:  realized  in 
the    experiences    of    the 
subtle  Irody) 


(the  five  gross  elements, 
ether,  air,  fire,  walei . 
earth,  constituting  the 
gross  I>ody  and  the  visible 
tangible  world:  realized 
in  sense  experiences)  « 

00  Tan-mdtra:  "merely  (tnatra)  that  (tan),"  "mere  trifle." 
81  The  formation  of  the  gross  elements  from  the  subtle  is  described  as 
follows:  "By  dividing  each  subtle  element  into  two  equal  parts,  and  sub- 


The  tattvas  emerge  from  each  other  gradually.  This  emergence  is 
the  natural  process  of  the  unfolding,  or  evolution,  of  the  "nor- 
mal" waking  state  of  consciousness  from  the  primal,  undifferen- 
tiated, quiescent  state  of  prakrti.  By  yoga  the  transformations,  or 
tattvas,  are  dissolved  back  again,  this  reverse  movement  repre- 
senting a  process  of  involution.  The  former  process,  namely 
that  of  the  evolution  of  the  tattvas  from  the  subtle  (sukftna)  to 
the  gross  (sthula),  is  marked  by  a  continuous  increase  of  tamas 
guna,  whereas  with  the  return  sattva  guna  comes  to  prevail. 
However,  purusa,  the  life-monad,  remains  uninvolved,  no  mat- 
ter which  way  the  process  runs,  and  no  matter  how  refined  the 
state  of  sattva  guna  that  is  attained.  Purusa  is  beyond  the  system 
of  the  gunas  absolutely,  whether  the  latter  be  in  evolution  or  in 
involution.  Self-radiant,  self-subsistent,  aloof,  it  never  changes, 
whereas  prakrti  will  go  on  changing  forever. 

Purusa  is  defined  as  "pure  spirit"  (caitanya),  in  token  of  the 
fact  that  it  is  non-matter,  and  yet  it  is  far  from  every  Western 
concept  of  spirituality— for  all  of  the  conditions  of  what  we  term 
the  "soul"  arc  effects  of  the  realm  of  subtle  matter,  according 

dividing  the  first  half  of  each  into  four  equal  parts,  and  then  adding 
to  the  unsubdivided  half  of  each  element  one  subdivision  of  each  of  the 
remaining  four,  each  element  becomes  five  in  one"  (Pancadaii  1.  if). 
These  compounds  are  what  are  known  as  the  gross  elements.  They  are 
named  according  to  whether  the  preponderant  portion  is  ether,  air,  fire, 
water,  or  earth. 
























Since  ether  is  experienced  as  sound,  air  as  touch,  fire  as  color  and  shape, 
water  as  flavor,  and  earth  as  smell,  each  gross  element  (being  a  compound 
of  all  five)  affects  all  the  senses. 



to  the  SSnkhya,  coming  to  pass  in  the  subtle  body.  Such  a  body 
is  not  to  be  identified,  in  any  sense,  with  the  life-monad.  About 
the  life-monad  nothing  can  be  said  (beyond  the  statement  that 
it  it)  except  in  negative  terms:  it  is  without  attributes,  without 
qualities,  without  parts,  without  motion— imperishable,  inac- 
tive and  impassive;  it  is  unaffected  by  pains  and  by  pleasures, 
devoid  of  feelings  and  emotions,  completely  indifferent  to  sensa- 
tions. It  abides  outside  the  categories  of  the  world.  Purusa  is 
comparable  to  a  seer  when  he  is  seeing  nothing,  or  to  a  mirror 
in  which  nothing  is  reflected.  Nothing  comes  to  it  in  that  sphere 
except  itself-even  though  all  things  this  side  of  it  are  illumi- 
nated, activated,  and  given  consciousness  by  its  pure,  untrou- 
bled, undeluded  radiance. 

When  perfect  knowledge  of  the  purusa  has  been  attained,  one 
does  not  give  up  one's  gross  and  subtle  body  immediately;  life 
lingers  on  for  a  considerable  time.  Just  as  the  potter's  wheel 
continues  to  revolve  after  the  completion  of  the  pot,  in  conse- 
quence of  the  initial  impulses,  so  the  body  of  the  kevalin  goes 
on  with  all  its  subtle  and  gross  natural  processes,  even  though 
the  Knower  himself,  aloof  from  them,  is  simply  watching  with 
sublime  indifference;  for  the  present  life  is  a  result  of  works. 
the  fruit  of  seeds  that  were  planted  before  the  attainment  of 
emancipation,  and  these  must  mature  to  the  fullness  of  their 
days.  On  the  other  hand,  the  germinal  force  of  all  the  seeds 
that  have  not  yet  sprouted  is  broken  and  consumed.  The 
Knower  knows  that  there  can  be  no  future  life  or  lives  for  him, 
because  he  has  withdrawn  his  impulses  from  the  process.  The 
process  is  running  down.  Henceforward,  therefore,  he  simply 
endures  the  events  of  his  existence  without  committing  himself 
to  anything  new,  until  finally,  when  the  forces  of  the  works 
already  bearing  fruit  are  exhausted,  death  overtakes  him  and 
there  can  be  no  return.  The  gross  body  dissolves.  The  subtle 
body  also  dissolves.  The  inner  organ,  with  its  samskaras,  which 


have  gone  oil  from  birth  to  birth,  dissolves.  The  gunas  are  re- 
leased from  their  agitation  in  this  vortex,  and  the  disturbance 
of  this  individual  dissolves. 

But  the  life-monad  continues  to  exist— just  as  an  individual 
continues  to  exist  when  his  reflection  has  disappeared  from  a 
shattered  glass.  Self-consciousness  is  gone— because  the  material 
basis  necessary  for  the  processes  of  knowledge,  feeling,  and  ex- 
perience now  is  missing— but  the  life-monad  endures,  as  an  in- 
dividual entity  in  and  for  and  by  itself.  Without  the  apparatus 
of  the  gross  and  tiie  subtle  body,  purusa  is  completely  out  of 
contact  with  the  sphere  of  the  gunas;  it  is  not  to  be  reached  by 
anything,  it  is  unattainable,  absolutely  removed. 

This  is  real  "isolation." 

Here  is  apparent  the  parallel  of  Sfuikhya  with  the  Jaina  and 
Ajlvika  teachings,  as  well  as  its  contrast  with  Vedanta.  The  idea 
of  a  pluralism  of  life-monads  belongs,  apparently,  to  the  an- 
cient, native  Indian,  pre-Atyan  philosophy;  so  too,  the  theory 
that  the  sphere  of  matter  (prakrli)  is  in  itself  substantial,  not  a 
mere  reflex,  or  mirage,  or  trick  of  maya.6-  Nevertheless  there  is 
one  aspect  of  the  Sarikhya  teaching  that  seems  to  differ  as  much 
from  the  Jaina  notion  of  release  as  from  the  Vedantic;  for  in  its 
final  state  of  separation  from  the  instruments  of  consciousness, 
the  purusa  abides  in  eternal  unconsciousness.  During  life  the 
same  condition  was  attained  temporarily  in  deep,  dreamless 
sleep,  in  swoons,  and  in  the  state  of  perfect  abstraction  that  is 
achieved  through  disciplined  yoga  practice.  But  this  is  not  the 
state  described  for  the  omniscient  Jaina  Trrthankara.  Whereas 
Vedanta,  precisely  to  stress  the  idea  that  the  perfect  state  is  one 
of  pure  consciousness,  speaks  of  a  stage  or  sphere  beyond  those 
of  the  Gross  Body  (Waking  Consciousness),  the  Subtle  Body 
(Dream  Consciousness),  and  the  Causal  Body  (Deep  Sleep), 
which  it  calls  the  "Fourth"  (turiya)."  With  this  Vedantic  Brah- 

02  Cf.  supra,  p.  19. 

M  Cf.  infra,  pp.  361-362  and  372E 



man  insight,  the  psychological  Saiikhyic-Yogic  isolation  in  un- 
consciousness becomes  as  archaic  as  the  physical  isolation  of  the 
Jaina  Tlrtharikaras. 

The  supreme  contribution  of  Sarikhya  and  Yoga  to  Hindu 
philosophy  lies  in  their  strictly  psychological  interpretation  of 
existence.  Their  analyses  of  the  micromacrocosm,  as  well  as  of 
the  whole  range  of  human  problems,  arc  presented  in  terms  of  a 
sort  of  proto-sciemific  psychological  functionalism,  which  is 
comparable,  in  its  mcticulousness  and  sober  positivism,  to  the 
comprehensive  system  and  theory  of  biological  evolution  that 
we  discussed  in  connection  with  the  Jainas  and  Gosala.  Here 
the  primitive  mythical  image  of  the  rise  of  a  universe  out  of  the 
cosmic  waters  and  cosmic  egg  is  reinterpreted  and  revivified  in 
lerms  of  stages  of  human  consciousness,  as  these  can  be  observed 
in  the  subjective  experiences  of  yoga.  From  the  primal  slate  of 
self-absorption,  or  involution,  which  amounts  practically  to 
quiescence  and  resembles  non-being,  a  state  of  intuitive  inner 
awareness  (buddhi)  is  evolved;  this  is  antecedent  to  the  notion 
of  "1"  (ahankara),  which  is  the  following  transformation;  and 
through  intellect  (manas),  consciousness  then  proceeds  to  an  ex- 
perience of  (and  to  action  upon)  the  outer  world  through  ex- 
terior senses.  The  cosmogonic  process  thus  is  read,  in  terms  of 
psychological  experience,  as  the  unfoldment  of  a  perceived 
environment  from  an  innermost,  all-perceiving  center.  The 
naive  myth  becomes  immediately  significantly  structuralized: 
the  world  is  understood  as  unfolding  from  a  quiescent  state  of 
inward  absorption;  and  introspection  therewith  becomes  the 
key  to  the  riddle  of  the  sphinx. 

Finally,  it  should  be  observed  that  the  following  four  features 
of  Sankhya  appear  in  Buddhism  as  well:  an  insistence  that  all 
life  is,  necessarily,  suffering;  an  indifference  to  theism  and  to 
Vedic  sacrificial  ritualism;  a  denunciation  of  ascetic  extrava- 
gances (as  represented,  for  example,  in  Jainism);  and  a  be- 


lief  in  parinama-nityatva,    "the   constant   becoming  of   the 
world."  M 

« Sankhya  is  referred  to  in  the  Buddhist  Pali  canon,  and  Buddhist 
legends  mention  Kapila  as  one  of  the  predecessors  of  the  Buddha.  "There 
are  some  recluses  and  Brahmans  who  are  etemalists,"  we  read  in  the 
Biahmajdlasuttanta  (Digha-nikdya  1.  30,  34;  translated  by  T.  W.  Rhys 
Davids,  Sacred  Books  of  the  Buddhists,  Vol.  II,  Oxford,  1899,  pp.  27-29); 
"they  are  addicted  to  logic  and  reasoning  and  give  utterance  to  the  follow- 
ing conclusions  of  their  own:  eternal  is  the  soul  and  the  world,  giving 
birth  to  nothing  new,  it  is  steadfast  as  a  mountain  peak,  as  a  pillar  firmly 
fixed;  and  the  living  creatures,  though  they  pass  from  birth  to  birth,  fall 
from  one  state  of  existence  and  spring  up  in  another,  yet  they  exist  for- 
ever and  ever." 




Indian  orlhodox  philosophy  arose  from  ihe  ancient  Aryan 
religion  of  the  Veda.  Originally  the  Vedic  pantheon  with  its 
host  of  gods  depicted  the  universe  as  filled  with  the  projections 
of  man's  experiences  and  ideas  about  himsell.  The  features  of 
human  birth,  growth,  and  death,  and  of  the  process  of  genera- 
tion, were  projected  on  the  course  of  nature.  Cosmic  forces  and 
phenomena  were  personalized.  The  lights  of  the  heavens,  the 
varieties  and  aspects  of  clouds  and  storm,  forests,  mountain 
masses  and  river  courses,  the  properties  of  the  soil,  and  the 
mysteries  of  the  underworld  were  understood  and  dealt  with  in 
terms  of  the  lives  and  commerce  of  divine  beings  who  them- 
selves reflected  the  human  world.  These  gods  were  supermen 
endowed  with  cosmic  powers  and  could  be  invited  as  guests  to 
feast  on  oblations.  They  were  invoked,  flattered,  propitiated, 
and  pleased. 

In  Greece  this  ancient  stage  of  Aryan  belief  was  represented 
in  the  mythology  of  the  Homeric  age,  which  was  continued  in 
the  tragedy  of  the  Athenian  theater.  However,  with  the  appear- 
ance of  Greek  philosophical  criticism  in  Ionian  Asia  Minor 


and  its  development  by  philosophers  and  sophists  from  Thales 
to  Socrates  (supported  then  by  the  advance  of  the  natural 
sciences,  with  rational  astronomy— i.e.,  cosmology  based  on 
mathematics— in  the  lead),  the  primitive,  dieamlike,  anthropo- 
morphic projections  were  withdrawn  from  the  natural  scene. 
Myth  was  no  longer  accepted  as  a  valid  interpretation  ol  the 
processes  of  nature.  The  human  features  and  biographies  of  the 
gods  were  rejected,  even  satirized;  the  archaic  mythology  and 
religion  collapsed;  the  brilliant  community  of  the  Olympians 
fell.  And  this  debacle  was  followed,  shortly,  by  the  collapse  oi 
the  Gieek  city-states  themselves,  in  the  period  ol  Alexander  the 

No  such  Twilight  of  the  Gods  occurred  in  the  sphere  of  the 
ancient  Hindu  thmkcis.  The  guaidian  deities  ol  the  woild  were 
not  overthrown,  but  incorporated  in  an  amplified  and  deepened 
vision,  like  local  puppet-kings  within  the  empire  of  a  mightier 
lord.  The  One  Presence,  which  was  experienced  as  the  Self 
(atman),  or  Holy  Power  {biaJimtnt),  within  and  beyond  the 
many,  took  to  itself  the  whole  charge  of  the  Indian  libido,  ab- 
sorbed its  entire  inteiest;  and  this  universal  spiritual  monarchy 
seriously  threatened  the  reign  of  the  gods,  greatly  reducing 
them  in  significance  and  prestige.  Nevertheless,  as  viceroys  and 
special  emissaries,  transcenden tally  invested,  as  it  were,  with 
their  powers  and  insignia  of  ollice,  the  deities  remained  in  their 
high  seats,  only  serving  a  new  function.  They  were  recognized 
as  themselves  manifestations  of  that  omnipresent,  supporting 
inner  Power,  to  which  all  serious  attention  was  being  turned. 
This  universal  ground  was  understood  to  be  identical  within 
all  things— unchanged  through  the  changing  forms.  It  abides 
supreme  within  the  unfolding  shapes  of  the  phenomenal  uni- 
verse, whether  in  the  grosser  spheres  of  normal  human  experi- 
ence or  in  the  more  rarified  of  the  empyrean.  Moreover,  it 
transcends  them  all,  and  is  infinitely  beyond.  Gradually,  with 
the  development  of  this  type  of  Brahmanical  speculative 

thought,  the  complex  polytheistic  ritual  of  the  earlier  stages  of 
the  Vedic  tradition  fell  into  disuse,  and  a  way  of  worship  came 
into  favor  that  was  at  once  less  elaborate,  more  intimate,  and 
more  profound. 

"Om!  Now,  there  was  Svetakctu  Aruneya.  To  him  his  father 
said:  'Live  the  life  of  a  student  of  sacred  knowledge.  Verily,  my 
dear,  from  our  family  there  is  no  one  unlearned  in  the  Vedas,  a 
Brahman  by  connection  as  it  were.'  He  then,  having  become  a 
pupil  at  the  age  of  twelve,  having  studied  all  the  Vedas,  re- 
turned at  the  age  of  twenty-lour,  conceited,  thinking  himself 
learned,  proud. 

"Then  his  father  said  to  him:  'Svetaketu,  my  dear,  since  now 
you  are  conceited,  think  yourself  learned,  and  are  proud,  did 
you  also  ask  for  that  teaching  whereby  what  has  not  been  heard 
of  becomes  heard  of,  what  has  not  been  thought  of  becomes 
thought  of,  what  has  not  been  understood  becomes  under- 

"  'How,  pray,  Sir,  is  that  teaching?' 

"  'Just  as,  my  dear,  by  one  piece  of  clay  everything  made  of 
clay  may  be  known  (the  modification  is  merely  a  verbal  distinc- 
tion, a  name;  the  reality  is  just  "clay")1— just  as,  my  dear,  by 
one  copper  ornament  everything  made  of  copper  may  be  known 
(the  modification  is  merely  a  verbal  distinction,  a  name;  the 
reality  is  just  "copper")— just  as,  my  dear,  by  one  nail-scissors 
everything  made  of  iron  may  be  known  (the  modification  is 
merely  a  verbal  distinction,  a  name;  the  reality  is  just  "iron"); 
so,  my  dear,  is  that  teaching.' 

"  'Verily,  those  honored  men  did  not  know  this;  for,  if  they 
had  known  it,  why  would  they  not  have  told  me?  But  do  you, 
Sir,  tell  me  it.' 

"  'So  be  it,  my  dear.  . . .  Bring  hither  a  fig  from  there.' 

1  Or:     "every    modification     being    but    an    effort    of    speech,    a 
name,  and  the  clay  the  only  reality  about  it"  (vacarambhanam  vikaro 
ndmadheyam—mrttik-ety  eva  satyam). 


'  'Here  it  is,  Sir.' 
'  Divide  it.' 
'  'It  is  divided.  Sir.' 
'  'What  do  you  see  there?' 
'  'These  rather  fine  seeds.  Sir.' 
'  'Of  these,  please,  divide  one." 
'  'It  is  divided,  Sir.' 
'  What  do  you  see  there?' 
'  Nothing  at  all,  Sir.' 
"Then  he  said  to  him:    Verily,  my  dear,  that  finest  essence 
which  you  do  not  perceive— \erily,  my  dear,  from  that  finest 
essence  this  great  sacred  fig  tree  thus  arises.  Believe  mc,  my 
dear,'  said  he,  'that  which  is  the  finest  essence— this  whole  world 
has  that  as  its  sell.  That  is  Reality.  That  is  Atman.  That  art 
thou  {////  tvam  asi),  Svctaketu.' 

"  'Do  you,  Sir,  cause  me  to  understand  even  more.' 
"  'So  be  it,  my  dear,'  said  he.  'Place  this  salt  in  the  water.  In 
the  morning  come  unto  me.' 
"Then  he  did  so. 

"Then  he  said  to  him:  'That  salt  you  placed  in  the  water  last 
evening— please,  bring  it  hither.' 

"Then  he  grasped  for  it,  but  did  not  find  it,  as  it  was  com- 
pletely dissolved. 

"  Please  take  a  sip  of  it  from  this  end,'  said  he.  'How  is  ifv 
"  'Salt.1 

"  'Take  a  sip  from  the  middle,'  said  he.  'How  is  it?' 
"  'Salt.' 

"  'Take  a  sip  from  that  end,'  said  he.  'How  is  it?' 
"  'Salt.' 

"  'Set  it  aside.  Then  come  unto  me.' 
"He  did  so,  saying,  'It  is  always  the  same.' 
"Then  he  said  to  him:  'Verily,  indeed,  my  dear,  you  do  not 
perceive  Being  here.  Verily,  indeed,  it  is  here.  That  which  is 

ihe  finest  essence— this  whole  world  lias  that  as  its  self.  That  is 
Reality.  That  is  Atman.  That  art  thou,  Svetaketu.'  "  ' 

Whereas  trom  the  dualistic  point  of  view  of  Saiikhya  and 
Yoga,  and  the  more  materialistic  non-Aryan  philosophies  of  the 
Jamas  and  Gosala,  the  universe  is  interpreted  on  the  basis  of 
two  antagonistic  eternal  principles,  purusa  and  prakrti  (or  jiva 
and  non-jiva),  according  to  the  transcendental  nondualism  of  the 
Vedic  tradition  all  such  oppositions  are  to  be  regarded  as  merely 
phenomenal.  The  Brahmans  were  not  deterred  from  further 
thinking  by  the  obvious  incompatibility  of  contradictory  func- 
tions. On  the  contrary,  they  recognized  precisely  in  this  di- 
lemma their  clue  to  the  nature  and  meaning  of  that  which  is 
transcendent  and  therefore  divine. 

The  sage  Aruni's  instruction  of  his  son  demonstrated  by 
analogy  that  the  supreme  principle  transcends  the  sphere  of 
"names  and  forms"  (numarujm),  yet  is  all-pcnctrating,  like  the 
salt.  Brahman  is  as  subtle  as  the  seed  of  the  seed  within  the 
fruit;  it  is  inherent  in  all  beings,  as  the  potentiality  of  their 
unfolding  life.  And  yet,  though  this  invisible  entity  transforms 
itself,  or  at  least  appears  to  do  so,  through  all  the  shapes  and 
processes  of  the  world— as  copper  and  clay  are  transformed  into 
all  the  pots  and  pans  in  the  kitchen— nevertheless,  these  visible, 
tangible  forms  are  "mere  transformations"  (vikara);  one  should 
not  confine  one's  attention  to  the  spectacle  of  their  configura- 
tions. The  names  and  forms  are  accidental  and  ephemeral;  in 
the  final  analysis,  "the  reality  is  just  'clay.'  " 

According  to  this  Brahmanical  formula,  the  dialectic  of  the 
universe  is  a  manifestation  of  a  transcendent,  nondual,  trans- 
dual,  yet  immanent  principle,  which  both  gives  forth  the  world  of 
names  and  forms  (namarupa)  and  inhabits  it  as  its  animating 
principle.  The  dualism  of  natura  naturans  (prakrti)  and  the 

■'  Chandogya  Vpanifad  6.  i;  6. 12-15.  (Translated  by  Robert  Ernest  Hume, 
The  Thirteen  Principal  Vpanishais,  Oxford,  1911,  pp.  240-241,  247*48) 


transcendent  immaterial  monad  (puru§a)  is  thus  itself  tran- 

The  chief  motivation  of  Vedic  philosophy,  from  the  period 
of  even  the  earliest  philosophic  hymns  (which  are  preserved  in 
the  later  portions  of  the  Rg-Veda),  has  been,  without  change, 
the  search  lor  a  basic  unity  underlying  the  manifold  of  the 
universe.  lirahmanical  thinking  was  centered,  from  the  begin- 
ning, around  the  paradox  of  the  simultaneous  aniagonism-yet- 
identity  of  the  manifest  forces  and  forms  of  the  phenomenal 
world,  the  goal  being  to  know  and  actually  to  control  the  hid- 
den power  behind,  within,  and  precedent  to  all  things,  as  their 
hidden  source.  This  search,  or  inquiry,  was  ''onducted,  further- 
more, along  two  main  lines,  which  amounted,  fundamentally, 
to  the  same.  The  first— answering  the  question,  "What  is  the  one 
and  only  essence  that  has  become  diversified?"— sought  the 
highest  power  behind  the  foimations  of  the  outer  world,  while 
the  second,  directing  the  ga/e  inward,  asked,  "What  is  the 
source  from  which  the  foires  and  organs  of  my  own  life  have 
proceeded?"  The  self-analysis  of  man  was  thus  developed  as  a 
parallel  discipline,  correlative  and  contributive  to  the  specula- 
tive evaluation  of  external  powcis  and  effects. 

In  contrast  to  its  transitory  products  or  manifestations,  the 
micromacrocosmic  essence  itself  was  early  regarded  as  inex- 
haustible, t  hangcless,  and  undecaving;  for  it  was  experienced 
inwardly  as  a  well  of  holy  power.  To  know  it,  therefore,  to  gain 
access  to  it  through  knowledge  (plana),  meant  actually  to  par- 
ticipate in  its  fearlessness,  bliss,  immortality,  and  boundless 
strength.  Moreover,  to  attain  to  these  meant  to  transcend,  in 
some  measure,  the  threat  of  death  and  the  miseries  of  life— 
which  was  a  pressing,  very  serious,  general  concern  in  those  an- 
cient times  of  incessant  war,  during  and  just  subsequent  to  the 
great  migration  of  the  Aryan  tribesmen  into  the  subcontinent 
of  India,  when  the  struggle  of  the  feudal  chieftains  for  suprem- 
acy was  in  full  career,  and  the  world  was  beset  with  enemies  and 

demons.  From  those  remote  days  of  nomadic  and  feudal  strife, 
Vedic  inquiry  into  the  secret  background  ol  the  diversities  of 
the  cosmos  evolved  gradually  and  without  a  break,  until,  in  the 
later  centuries  of  the  Upanisads,  the  pictographic  reasonings  of 
mythology  and  theology  hail  been  lett  far  behind  for  the  ab- 
stract devices  of  metaphysics,  l'.ut  throughout,  through  all  the 
transformations  of  Indian  civilization,  the  Brahmanical  obses- 
sion, whether  in  the  comparatively  primitive  form  of  early 
Aryan  magic  or  in  the  supi  erne  refinements  of  the  later  thought, 
remained  the  same;  namely,  fixed  on  the  problem  of  the  nature 
of  the  force  that  continually  and  everywhere  presents  itself  to 
man  under  new  disguises. 

The  task  of  fathoming  this  mystery  was  approached  first  in 
the  spirit  of  an  archaic  natural  science.  Through  comparison 
and  identification  diverse  phenomena  were  discovered  to  stem 
from  the  same  root,  and  thus  to  be  basically  one.  Speculative 
insight,  penetrating  the  constant  metamorphoses,  thus  recog- 
nized a  ubiquitous  power  of  self-transmutation,  which  was 
termed  niaya  (from  the  verbal  root  ma,  "to  prepare,  to  form,  to 
build") 8  and  understood  to  be  one  of  the  characteristic  facul- 
ties of  the  supra-  and  infrahuman  world-directing  gods  and 
demons.  The  function  of  theology  then  became  that  of  identi- 
fying and  comprehending  the  whole  series  of  masks  that  each 
divine  power  could  assume,  and  labeling  these  correctly,  with 
correct  "names."  The  names  were  grouped  into  invocations  and 
litanies,  the  function  of  the  sacrificial  code  being  to  conjure  the 
named  forces  litanywise,  by  means  of  their  proper  formulae,  and 
thus  harness  them  10  the  projects  of  the  human  will. 

A  vivid  instance  of  this  variety  of  inquiry  is  to  be  found  in 
the  Vedic  theology  of  Agni,  the  god  of  fire.  AH  Vedic  sacrifice 
centered  around  this  divinity,  into  whose  mouth  (the  fire  of  the 
altar)  the  oblations  were  poured.  As  messenger  of  the  gods,  he 
carried  sacrifices  along  his  trail  of  flame  and  smoke  up  to  heaven, 
«  Cf.  supra,  p.  19,  note  1 1. 



where  he  ted  the  celestial  beings  like  a  bird  its  young.  Fire  in 
its  earthly  form,  as  the  presiding  power  of  every  Aryan  hearth 
and  home,  was  "Agni  Vaisvanara,"  the  divine  being  "existing 
with  all  (viive)  men  (nam)."  The  same  deity  in  heaven,  as  the 
heat  of  the  sun,  was  the  solar  Agni,  while  in  the  world-sphere 
between  (atitariksa),  where  (ire  abides  with  the  clouds  and  ap- 
pears as  lightning,  he  was  viewed  as  the  child  of  the  atmospheric 
waters.  Two  more  important  forms  of  Agni  were  known  here 
on  earth— that  associated  with  wood,  and  that  with  the  heat  of 
the  living  cell.  Fire  was  made  by  the  twirling  of  a  stick  of  hard 
wood  in  a  hole  notched  into  a  softer  plank.  The  rotation  pro- 
duced heat  and  presently  a  spark.  That  was  comparable  to  the 
process  of  generation:  the  twirling  spindle  and  the  plank  were 
the  fire's  parents,  respectively  male  and  female;  therefore  Agni 
was  the  son  of  wood.  However,  the  wood  grew  and  was  nour- 
ished on  water,  and  so  Agni  was  the  "grandchild  of  the  water" 
(apdm-napat),  even  though  also  the  water's  chi'd,  born  as  light- 
ning from  the  watery  womb  of  the  clouds.  Fire  abides,  further- 
more, within  all  living  beings— men,  quadrupeds,  and  birds— 
as  one  can  tell  from  the  temperature  of  the  body.  This  tempera- 
ture is  perceptible  to  touch,  it  is  in  the  skin.  Later  on,  heat  was 
declared  to  be  the  cause  of  digestion— the  heat  of  the  bodily 
juices  "cooked"  the  food  in  the  intestines— and  the  digestive 
bile  was  therefore  identified  as  the  principal  manifestation  in 
the  microcosm  of  the  macrocosm  ic  fire. 

A  knowledge  of  such  affinities  and  interrelationships  consti- 
tuted an  important  department  of  the  earliest  Aryan  priestly 
wisdom.  It  might  be  described  as  a  kind  of  intuitive  and  specu- 
lative natuial  science.  Furthermore,  just  as  the  speculative 
sciences  of  our  day  give  a  theoretical  background  and  basis  for 
applied  technologies,  so  did  the  ancient  wisdom  of  the  Vedic 
priests  support  an  applied  technology  of  practical  magic.  Magic 
was  the  primitive  counterpart  of  modern  practical  science,  and 
the  cogitations  of  the  priests  the  antecedent  of  the  pure  science 

of  our  theoretical  astronomy,  biology,  and  physics.  The  archaic 
Brahmanical  inquiry  and  application  resulted  in  a  far-reaching 
identification  with  eacli  other  of  diverse  phenomena  in  widely 
differing  spheres  of  the  universe.  (A)  The  elements  of  the  mac- 
rocosm were  identified  with  (15)  the  faculties,  organs,  and  limbs 
of  the  microcosm  (man's  organism),  and  both  with  (C)  the  de- 
tails of  the  inherited  and  traditional  sacrificial  ritual.  The  ritual 
was  the  principal  instrument  through  which  the  forces  of  the 
universe  were  contacted  and  brought  under  control,  harnessed 
to  man's  need  and  desire.  It  gradually  vanished  into  the  back- 
ground, however,  as  the  "path  of  knowledge"  (jilana-marga)  su- 
perseded the  "path  of  ritualistic  activity"  (kurma-marga)— that 
is  to  say,  as  the  abstract  philosophy  of  the  Upanisads  became  dis- 
engaged from  the  web  of  ritualistic  magic.  This  development 
took  place  among  the  Vedic  divines,  in  circles  devoted  to  eso- 
ttric  discussions,  meditations,  and  initiations.  Therewith  the 
problem  of  the  equivalences,  or  parallel  structures,  of  (A)  the 
universe  and  (B)  man's  nature  became  the  sole  significant  key 
to  understanding;  the  problem  of  the  details  of  the  sacrifice 
(C)  simply  dropping  away.  And  so  an  extraordinary  period  of 
speculative  research  opened,  in  which  the  secret  identity  of  the 
faculties  and  forces  of  the  human  body  with  specific  powers  of 
the  outer  world  was  exhaustively  studied,  from  every  possible 
angle,  as  a  basis  for  a  total  interpretation  of  human  nature,  an 
understanding  of  its  position  in  the  universe,  and  a  reading 
therewith  of  the  riddle  of  our  common  human  fate. 

This  curious,  long-continued  comparative  study  resulted  in 
numerous  attempts  to  sum  up  the  main  constituents  of  the 
inicromacrocosm  in  co-ordinating  lists,  or  sets  of  equations.4 

4  These  can  be  readily  compared  in  Hume's  translation  of  the  Upanisads 
{op.  cit.,  p.  520)  by  turning  to  his  index,  under  "correlation,  or  corre- 
spondence-o£  things  cosmic  and  pcrsonal:-of  the  sacrifice  and  the  liturjry 
with  life  and  the  world;~-of  the  existential  and  the  intelligential  ele- 



For  example,  in  tlie  Taittirlya  Upanisad  we  find  that  the  three 
elements,  earth,  fire,  and  water,  correspond  to  the  human 
breath,  sight,  and  skin,  and  again,  that  atmosphere,  heaven,  the 
four  quarters,  and  the  four  intermediate  quarters  correspond 
on  the  one  hand  to  wind,  sun.  moon,  and  stars,  and  on  the 
other  to  hearing,  mind,  speech,  and  touch;  while  plants,  trees, 
space,  and  one's  body  are  matched  by  flesh,  muscle,  bone,  and 
marrow.6  Not  a  few  of  the  identifications  were  tentative  and 
arbitrary,  excessively  schematic,  and  did  not  prove  convincing 
to  posterity,  but  the  practical  effect  of  the  movement  as  a  whole 
was  to  depersonalize  the  universe,  progiessively,  and  undermine 
the  prestige  of  the  earlier  Vedic  gods. 

As  we  have  said,  however,  the  gods  were  never  dethroned  in 
India.  They  were  not  disintegrated  and  dissolved  by  criticism 
and  natural  science,  as  were  the  deities  ol  the  Greeks  in  the  age 
of  the  Sophists,  Anaxagoras,  Democritus,  Aristotle,  and  the  rest. 
The  gods  of  Homer  became  laughable,  and  were  mocked  be- 
cause of  their  all-too-human  love  affairs  and  excesses  of  wrath, 
which  were  regarded  as  incompatible  with  the  more  spiritual 
and  ethical,  later  concept  of  divinity.  A  late  and  literal-minded 
style  of  moral  criticism  was  offended  by  such  symbolic  images 
of  the  earlier  mythical  imaginal  ion  as  those  of  die  pbilanderings 
of  Zeus  and  the  family  quart  eLs  of  Olympus.  India,  on  the  other 
hand,  retained  its  anthropomorphic  personifications  of  the  cos- 
mic forces  as  vivid  masks,  magnificent  celestial  personae,  which 
could  serve,  in  an  optional  way,  to  assist  the  mind  in  its  attempt 
to  comprehend  what  was  regarded  as  manifested  through  them. 
They  remained  as  useful  symbols,  full  of  meaning  and  interest, 
through  which  the  ever  present  powers  could  be  conceived  of 
and  dealt  with.  They  served  as  guides;  and  they  could  still  be 
reached,  moreover,  by  means  of  the  ancient  sacrificial  rites  with 
their  unalterable  texts,  as  well  as  through  the  private  practices 

6  Taittiriya  Upanisad  1.  7.  {Cf.  Hume,  op.  cit.,  p.  279);  cf.  supra,  pp. 


of  emotional  devotion  (bhakti)  where  the  "I"  addresses  itself 
reflectively  to  a  divine  "Thou."  What  is  expressed  through  the 
personal  masks  was  understood  to  transcend  them,  and  yet  the 
garb  of  the  divine  personae  was  never  actually  removed.  By  this 
tolerant,  cherishing  attitude  a  solution  of  the  theological  prob- 
lem was  attained  that  preserved  the  personal  character  of  the 
divine  powers  for  all  the  purposes  of  worship  and  daily  life 
while  permitting  an  abstract,  supreme  and  transcendent  concept 
to  dominate  for  the  more  lofty,  supraritualistic  stages  of  in- 
sight and  speculation. 

Whatever  is  expressed  in  divine  personae— or,  for  that  matter, 
in  any  tangible,  visible,  or  imaginable  form— must  be  regarded 
as  but  a  sign,  a  pointer,  directing  the  intellect  to  what  is  hidden, 
something  mightier,  more  comprehensive  and  less  transitory 
than  anything  with  which  the  eyes  or  emotions  can  become  fa- 
miliar. Likewise,  concepts  and  ideas  defined  and  circumscribed 
by  the  intellect  must  also  be  regarded  as  merely  helpful  signs, 
pointing  to  what  cannot  be  defined  or  bounded  by  name.  For 
both  the  realm  of  forms  (rupri)  and  that  of  names  (naman)— 
both  the  tangible  and  the  conceptual  spheres— are  merely  re- 
flexes. If  they  are  to  be  understood  they  must  be  recognized  as 
manifestations  of  something  higher  than  themselves,  something 
infinite,  which  defies  all  definition— whether  through  the  for- 
mulae of  an  early,  wonder-filled  theology  or  in  the  hypotheses 
of  a  later,  practical-minded  science. 

In  India  the  quest  for  the  primal  force  reached,  in  soaring 
flight,  the  plane  of  a  reality  whence  everything  proceeds  as  a 
merely  temporal,  phenomenal  manifestation.  This  ultimate 
power  in  the  universe,  and  in  man,  transcends  both  the  sensual 
and  the  conceptual  spheres;  it  is,  therefore,  neti  neti,  "neither 
thus  (neti)  nor  thus  (neti)." '  It  is  that  "whercfrom  words  turn 

«  This  is  the  great  formula  of  Yajnavalkya.  the  paramount  thinker  of 
the  Upanisadic  tradition.  For  its  numerous  occurrences  in  the  texts,  cf. 
Hume's  index  under  "neti,  neti"  (op.  cit.,  p.  511). 


back,  together  with  the  mind,  not  having  attained."  7  Yet  there 
is  no  dichotomy;  there  is  no  antagonism  between  "real"  and 
"unreal"  in  this  strictly  nondualistic  realization;  for  the  trans- 
cendent supreme  Reality  and  its  mundane  manifestations 
(whether  these  be  visible  or  verbal-conceptual)  are  in  essence 

There  is,  nevertheless,  a  hierarchy,  or  gradation,  of  the  mani- 
festations, stales,  or  transformations  of  the  all-comprehensive, 
all-evolving  essence,  according  to  the  differing  degrees  of  their 
intensities  and  powers.  And  this  philosophical  principle  tallies, 
furthermore,  with  the  principle  of  order  intrinsic  to  the  earlier 
mythological  hierarchy,  where  the  various  gods  were  graded 
according  to  the  extent  of  their  power-spheres.  Some  of  the  gods, 
such  as  Indra,  Soma,  and  Varuna,  ruled  as  kings;  others,  like 
Agni,  were  endowed  with  the  insignia  and  faculties  of  priestly 
power;  many  more,  such  as  the  wind-gods  (the  Maruts),  of  a 
much  lower  order,  filled  the  ranks  of  the  divine  warrior  hosts. 
Pantheons  reflect,  always,  the  local  social  hierarchies  of  the  fam- 
ily and  tribe,  and  likewise  the  local  social  conflicts;  groups  and 
generations  of  divine  beings  displace  and  supersede  each  other, 
reflecting  the  crises  in  civilization  and  in  the  ideals  of  their 
devotees.  Younger  gods  gain  ascendancy  over  older,  as  Indra 
did  over  Varuna,  and  as  Varuna,  in  an  earlier  age,  had  super- 
seded the  great  father  Dyaus,  Father  Heaven.  The  crucial  prob- 
lem for  a  theologian  is  to  make  contact  with  the  right  divinities 
for  the  purposes  of  the  time,  and  to  ascertain,  if  possible,  which 
among  the  gods  is  the  most  powerful  in  general.  But  this  corre- 
sponds to  the  problem  of  the  later,  more  philosophic  quest  of 
the  jnana-marga,  where  again  the  goal  is  to  single  out  and  es- 
tablish effective  contact  with  the  paramount,  all-controlling 
principle— only  now  by  the  way  {marga)  of  knowledge  (jnana) 
rather  than  that  of  rite.  The  highest  principle  is  to  be  discov- 

1  Taittirlya  Upanhad  ».  4.  (Cf.  Hume,  op.  cit.,  p.  S85);  cf.  supra,  pp. 


ercd  and  mastered  through  wisdom.  The  individual  is  to  make 
himself  a  part  of  it  through  abstract  means.  And  he  will  then 
share  in  its  potency,  just  as  a  priest  in  the  power  of  his  god. 
He  will  become  both  omnipotent  and  immortal;  he  will  stand 
beyond  change  and  all  [ear,  beyond  the  common  doom;  and  he 
will  be  a  master  of  the  plenitudes  both  of  earthly  life  and  of  the 
life  to  come. 

As  we  have  seen,  the  Brilimanical  starch  proceeded  along  the 
two  ways  of  the  macrocosmic  and  the  microcosmic  quests.  An 
early  stage  of  the  former  is  illustrated  in  the  following  hymn 
from  the  so-called  Black  Yajumedu,  where  the  highest  principle 
manifests  itself  as  food  (an nam).'  Food  is  announced  as  the 
source  and  substance  of  all  things.  Brahman,  the  divine  essence, 
makes  itself  known  to  the  priestly  seer  in  the  following  impres- 
sive, awe-inspiring  stanzas: 

I  am  the  first-born  of  the  divine  essence. 

Before  the  gods  sprang  into  existence,  I  was. 

1  am  the  navel  [the  center  and  the  source]  of  immortality. 

Whoever  bestows  me  on  others— thereby  keeps  me  to  himself. 

I  am  FOOD.  I  feed  on  food  and  on  its  feeder.8 

The  divine  material  out  of  which  the  living  universe  and  its 
creatures  are  composed  is  revealed  here  as  food,  which  is  mat- 
ter and  force  combined.  This  life-sap  builds  tip  and  constitutes 
all  the  forms  of  life.  Changing  its  forms  it  remains  nevertheless 
indestructible.  The  creatures  thrive  by  feeding  on  each  other- 
feeding  on  each  other,  devouring,  and  begetting— but  the  divine 
substance  itself  lives  on,  without  interruption,  through  the 
ceaseless  interruptions  of  the  lives  of  all  the  living  beings.  Thus 
we  find  verified  in  this  solemn  hymn,  verified  and  experienced 

8  This  concept  persists  as  a  central  theme  in  the  later  period  of  the 
Upanisads.  For  instances,  cf.  Hume's  index,  under  "food"  (op.  cit.,  p.  583). 
*  Tailtiriya  Brdhmana  2.  8.  8. 



in  the  aspect  of  its  holy  mystery,  the  primary  law  of  the  terrible 
Arthaiastra:  the  ruthless  struggle  for  life  that  prevails  in  inno- 
cence in  the  realm  of  nature.10 

This  food  is  stored  [the  hymn  continues]  in  the  highest  of 

the  upper  worlds. 
All  the  gods  and  the  deceased  ancestors  are  the  guardians 

of  this  food. 
Whatever  is  eaten,  or  spilt  or  scattered  as  an  offering, 
Is  altogether  but  a  hundredth  part  of  my  whole  body. 

The  two  great  vessels,  Heaven  and  Earth,  ha\e  both  been 

By  the  spotted  cow  with  the  milk  of  but  one  milking, 
Pious  people,  drinking  of  it,  cannot  diminish  it. 
It  becomes  neither  more  nor  less. 

The  life-substance  filling  the  body  of  the  universe  circulates 
through  its  creatures  in  a  swift,  perpetual  How,  as  they  fall  prey 
to  each  other,  becoming  to  each  other  both  the  food  and  the 
feeder.  The  portion  made  visible  in  this  way  is  but  the  hun- 
dredth part  of  the  total  essence,  a  mere  negligible  indication  of 
the  totality,  by  far  the  greater  part  of  it  being  hidden  from  the 
eye.  For  it  is  stored  in  the  highest  dominion  of  the  universe, 
where  it  is  guarded  both  by  the  gods  and  by  the  deceased  an- 
cestors who  share  the  celestial  abode.  The  very  nature  of  that 
divine  store  is  abundance;  the  portion  manifested  as  the  world 
is  but  the  yield  of  a  single  milking  of  the  sublime  source,  the 
great  spotted  cow.  Through  the  continuous  tranformation  into 
the  energy  and  substance  of  the  world  the  infinite  store  suffers 
not  the  least  decrease.  The  cow  suffers  no  diminution,  either  of 
life-substance  or  of  productive  vigor,  in  the  yield  of  a  single 

10  Cf .  supra,  pp.  56  and  119. 



The  ancient  hymn  goes  on: 

FOOD  is  the  exhaling;  breath;  FOOD  is  the  inhaling  breath 

of  life; 
FOOD,  they  call  death;  the  same  FOOD,  they  call  life. 
FOOD,  the  Brihmans  call  growing  old  [decaying]; 
FOOD,  ihey  also  call  the  begetting  of  offspring. 

Food  governs  all  vital  processes.  It  provides  energy  for  the 
lifelong  breathing  process.  It  produces  decay  and  old  age,  which 
end  in  death  and  destruction;  but  it  also  moves  to  the  begetting 
of  offspring,  and  it  builds  up  the  body  of  the  growing  child. 

The  foolish  man  obtains  useless  food. 
I  declare  the  truth:  it  will  be  his  death. 
Because  he  does  not  feed  either  friend  or  companion. 
By  keeping  his  food  to  himself  alone,  he  becomes 
guilty  when  eating  it. 

I— the  FOOD— am  the  cloud,  thundering  and  raining. 
They  [the  beings]  feed  on  ME.— I  feed  on  everything. 
I  am  the  real  essence  of  the  universe,  immortal. 
By  my  force  all  the  suns  in  heaven  are  aglow. 

The  same  divine  milk  that  circulates  through  creatures  here 
on  earth  sets  aglow  the  suns— all  the  suns  of  the  galaxy.  It  con- 
denses also  into  the  forms  of  the  clouds.  It  pours  down  as  rain 
and  feeds  the  earth,  the  vegetation,  and  the  animals  that  thrive 
on  the  vegetation.  The  individual  initiated  into  this  secret  can- 
not be  avaricious  for  any  portion  of  the  abundant  food  that 
may  come  to  him.  He  will  share  it  willingly  with  his  compan- 
ions. He  will  not  wish  to  break  the  circuit  by  hoarding  the  sub- 
stance to  himself.  And  by  the  same  token,  anyone  keeping  food 
withdraws  himself  from  the  animating  passage  of  the  life-force 
which  supports  the  remainder  of  the  universe— all  the  creatures 


of  tlie  earth,  all  the  clouds  in  their  courses,  and  the  sun.  Such  a 
niggardly  hoarder  cuts  himself  off  from  the  divine  metabolism 
of  the  living  world.  His  food  avails  him  nothing:  when  he  eats, 
he  eats  his  own  death. 

The  command  of  the  hymn,  the  solemn  proclamation  made 
through  its  stanzas  by  the  holy  substance,  amounts  to  a  kind  of 
cosmic  Communist  Manifesto— with  respect  at  least  to  food.  Food 
ia  to  remain  common  to  all  beings.  Solemnly,  the  hymn  sum- 
mons the  Truth  to  witness  in  the  phrase  "I  declare  the  Truth"; 
wherewith  a  cosmic  curse  is  put  upon  the  head  of  any  rugged 
individualist  who  should  be  concerned  to  look  out  only  for 
himself.  "It  will  be  his  death,"  the  hymn  declares;  the  nourish- 
ing substance  in  his  mouth  will  turn  to  poison. 

The  gods  arc  older  than  men,  much  older,  yet  they  too  were 
bom;  they  arc  not  eternal  or  self-existent.  They  are  but  the  first 
offspring  of  the  cosmic  force-substance  which  is  food,  the  ear- 
liest self-manifestation  of  that  transcendent  primary  power.  And 
since  they  were  born  they  must  also  die.  There  can  be  no  such 
thing  as  eternity  for  created,  individualized  forms.  But  if  not 
for  the  gods,  (hen  how  for  lesser  beings?  Inhaling  and  exhaling 
the  breath  of  life,  begetting  offspring  and  withering  away,  the 
numberless  organisms  of  all  the  spheres  of  existence  support  the 
phases  of  a  single,  rhythmic,  inevitable  process  of  passage.  They 
make  manifest  and  suffer  the  metamorphoses  of  what  is  intrin- 
sically, in  itself,  an  everlasting  freshness—a  tireless  immortality. 
Feeding  on  the  divine  substance  in  the  form  of  the  others  and 
becoming  in  turn  their  food,  each  is  but  a  moment  in  a  mag- 
nitudinous  universal  play  of  transformations,  a  lively  shifting- 
about  of  masks;  for  such  wild  abandonment  as  characterizes 
this  game  of  feeding  belongs  to  the  state  of  being  a  mask.  What 
the  masks  conceal  is  everywhere  the  same:  "the  source,"  "the 
center,"  the  anonymous  divine  life-force  which  has  no  face  yet 
wears  the  masks  of  all  the  faces  of  life. 

The  individual's  consolation  lies  in  knowing  that  behind  and 

within  his  doom  is  the  Imperishable— which  is  his  own  very 
seed  and  essence.  Release  from  the  doom  consists  in  feeling 
identical  not  with  the  mask  but  with  its  all-pervading,  ever- 
living  substance.  To  be  identified  with  that  through  wisdom 
means  to  conform  to  its  reality  by  taking  the  proper  attitude 
with  respect  to  food  and  feeders.  The  mystery  of  the  oneness  of 
all  in  the  divine  being  will  then  be  made  manifest  in  practice. 
Disregarding  differentiating,  discriminatory  notions— which  set 
conflicting  individuals  apart,  each  ego  clinging  avidly  to  itself  in 
isolation,  giving  battle,  according  to  the  way  of  the  fishes,  in  a 
selfish  sheer  maintenance  ol  itself— one  no  longer  feels  bound  in 
by  the  hide  of  one's  personal  perishability.  All  and  everything  is 
looked  upon  as  the  manifestation  of  one  variously  inflected  yet 
permanent  essence,  of  whiih  one's  own  life  is  but  a  passing 
configuration.  Such  a  realization  transforms  like  magic  the  view 
of  the  seemingly  merciless  rouisc  of  life,  and  bestows  immedi- 
ately a  boon  of  peace. 

The  Hymn  of  Food  thus  gives  voice  to  the  same  "World  Yea" 
that,  centuries  later,  is  to  distinguish  Tantrism,  with  its  great 
formula:  "Who  seeks  Nirvana?"  n  The  tangible  realm  of  maya, 
which  is  the  veil  that  occludes  Truth,  is  at  the  same  time  the 
self-revelation  of  Truth.  Everything  is  a  mask,  a  gesture  of  the 
self-revelation.  The  dark  aspects  of  life  (death,  bereavement, 
and  sorrow)  countei  balance  the  bright  (fulfillment  and  de- 
light); the  two  sides  check  each  other,  like  the  celestial  and  in- 
fernal forces  in  the  structure  of  the  universe,  the  benignity  of 
the  gods,  and  the  self-centered,  disruptive,  mthless  ambitions  of 
the  demons.  If  the  kaleidoscopically  changing,  fleeting  aspects 
of  the  world  are  ever  to  be  endured,  an  acceptance  of  the  total- 
ity is  necessary;  which  means,  it  is  necessary  to  break  down  the 
all-too-natural  egoistic  claim  that  life  and  the  universe  should 
conform  to  the  shortsighted,  asthmatic  constitution  of  a  sclf- 
centered  member  of  the  whole,  who  excludes  from  his  consid- 

»  Cf.  infra,  pp.  5<k)ft.:  also  supra,  p.  61,  Editor's  note,  and  Appendix  B 


eration  everything  beyond  the  range  of  his  own  limited  personal 

Nescience  might  be  called  the  short-1  egged ness  of  man— in 
contrast  to  the  reach  of  the  divine  Cosmic  Man,  Visnu,  who 
with  three  gigantic  strides  created  Earth,  Atmosphere,  and 
Firmament,  simply  by  setting  down  the  sole  of  his  foot,  at  each 
stride,  in  what  was  empty  space.  The  cosmic  dynamism  of  which 
we  ourselves  are  minute  manifestations  cannot  be  fitted  to  the 
dimensions  of  our  brain,  any  more  than  to  the  brains  of  ants; 
lor  the  universe  is  the  holy  revelation  of  an  absolutely  tran- 
scendent essence.  We  can  be  glad  to  understand  it  even  a  little, 
in  terms  appropriate  to  the  range  of  our  egocentric  sensual  and 
mental  faculties.  Though  characterized  every  moment  by  per- 
ishableness,  the  universal  whirling  process  in  itself  is  everlast- 
ing, even  as  is  the  hidden  power  from  which  it  derives.  It  is 
everlasting,  indeed,  through  the  very  transiency  of  its  continu- 
ally appearing  and  vanishing  phenomena— all  these  evanescent 
forms.  And  precisely  because  these  break,  it  is  everlasting.  The 
cloud-shadows  of  death  and  bereavement  darken  the  face  of  the 
world  every  second;  these  race  across  the  moonlit,  sunlit  scene 
—but  they  do  not  outbalance  the  light,  the  fulfillment  of  life's 
joy  in  the  perpetual  begetting  of  new  forms.  The  world,  in  spite 
of  its  pain,  is  as  it  were  enraptured  by  itself,  and  does  not  count 
the  hurts  that  go  with  the  procedure:  as  though  lovers  in  their 
rapture  should  mind  whether  the  kisses  hurt,  or  a  child  eagerly 
swallowing  ice  cream  whether  the  chill  was  a  little  painful. 
Everything  depends  on  where  one  puts  the  emphasis.  That  of 
the  Hymn  of  Food  is  on  the  dionysiac  aspect  of  the  world.  A 
continuous  blending  and  transformation  of  opposites  through 
a  relentless  vital  dynamism— even  asking  for  pains,  to  balance 
and  enhance  the  intensity  of  delight— goes  spontaneously,  pow- 
erfully, and  joyously  with  this  terrific  Oriental  acceptance  of  the 
whole  dimension  of  the  universe.  And  this  wild  affirmative  is 
one  that  is  eminently  characteristic,  as  we  shall  find,  of  Hinduism. 

Siva,  the  cosmic  dancer,  the  divine  lord  of  destruction,  is  de- 
scribed at  once  as  the  model  of  ascetic  fervor  and  as  the  type  ot 
the  frantic  lover  and  faithful  spouse.'2  The  Alexandrian  Greeks 
recognized  in  him  the  Hindu  form  of  Dionysos,  and  in  their 
typical  Western  way  deputed  their  own  god  as  having  tri- 
umphantly entered  and  conquered  India.  But  we  know  that 
the  Brahmans  had  been  giving  praise  to  the  dynamic,  dionysiac 
aspect  of  the  universe  long  before  the  vine-wreathed,  Thracian 
"Twice-born"  entered  the  vales  of  Greece  with  his  wild  band- 
to  the  consternation  and  scandal  of  the  world-directing,  sober 
personalities  of  the  orthodox  Greek  Olympus. 

The  devotee  of  such  a  god  is  asked  to  adore,  not  the  names 
and  forms  (namarupa),  but  the  dynamism— this  torrential  cos- 
mic stream  of  fleeting  evolutions,  which  is  continually  produc- 
ing and  wiping  out  individual  existences  (this  Niagara,  of  which 
we  are  the  drops),  as  it  seethes  in  a  roaring,  tremendous  foam. 
Such  is  the  attitude  that  comes  to  the  fore  decisively  in  the 
Tantric  period  of  Indian  thought:  the  mortal  individual  iden- 
tifies his  mind  with  the  principle  that  brought  him  into  exist- 
ence, that  hurls  him  along  and  is  to  wipe  him  out,  feeling  him- 
self to  be  a  part  of  that  supreme  force  as  its  manifestation,  a 
part  of  its  veil  and  play.  One  submits  to  the  totality.  One  at- 
tunes one's  ears  to  the  dissonant  as  well  as  to  the  consonant 
strains  of  the  cosmic  symphony,  regarding  oneself  as  a  brief 
passage,  a  momentary  melody,  now  raised,  but  soon  to  fade  and 
be  heard  no  more.  Thus  comprehending  his  part  and  function 
in  the  everlasting,  joyful-woeful  song  of  life,  the  individual  is 
not  melancholy  at  the  prospect  of  the  pains  of  death  and  birth, 
or  because  of  the  frustrations  of  his  personal  expectations.  Life 
is  no  longer  evaluated  by  him  in  terms  of  sorrow.  Both  the 
sorrows  and  the  joys  of  the  round  are  transcended  in  ecstasy. 

"Who  seeks  Nirvana?"  The  comprehension  of  the  life-pat- 
terns that  unfold  with  varying  degrees  of  intensity  from  the 

«  Cf.  Zimmer,  The  King  and  the  Corpse,  pp.  264-316. 


primal,  one  and  only,  innermost  Self  and  Core  of  all  existences, 
the  "Holy  Power"— Brahman-Atman— cannot  be  achieved  by 
means  of  logic;  for  logic  rejects  as  absurd,  and  therefore  impos- 
sible, whatever  goes  against  the  rules  of  reason.  Iror  example, 
1  plus  1  logically  is  2,  never  3  or  5,  and  can  never  shrink  to  1. 
Yet  things  are  not  that  way  in  the  field  of  the  vital  processes  of 
nature,  where  the  most  alogical  developments  take  place  every 
day,  on  every  side,  as  a  matter  of  course.  The  rules  of  life  are 
not  those  of  logic  but  of  dialectics;  the  reasonings  of  nature  not 
like  those  of  the  mind,  but  rather  like  those  of  our  illogical 
belly,  our  procreative  faculty,  the  vegetable-animal  aspect  of  our 
microcosm.  In  this  sphere,  the  sphere  of  biological  dialectics, 
the  illogical  sphere  of  nature  and  life's  forces,  1  plus  1  is  usually 
far  from  remaining  merely  2  for  very  long. 

Suppose,  for  example,  that  the  one  1  is  a  male  and  the  other 
1  a  female.  When  they  first  meet,  they  are  but  the  i-plus-i  that 
is  2;  when  they  fall  in  love  with  each  other,  however,  and  throw 
their  destinies  together,  then  they  become  the  i-plus-i  that  is  1, 
"for  better  or  for  worse."  The  holy  sacrament— at  least  in  its 
more  solemn,  ancient,  and  magical  form,  as  prcscned  in  the 
Roman  Catholic  ritual— insists  emphatically  on  the  idea  that 
now  the  two  are  "made  one  flesh"  (una  caro  facia  est).  This  very 
union,  in  fact,  is  what  takes  away  the  Haw,  the  suspicion  or 
tinge  of  sin,  which  attaches  to  every  kind  of  carnal  interrela- 
tionship between  the  sexes,  according  to  the  ascetic  Christian 
belief.  The  fact  that  the  two  have  been  transformed  into  one 
through  the  performance  of  the  sacrament  makes  the  married 
couple  exempt  from  concupisccntia,  sinfulness;  hallows  their 
sexual  union.  Thus  through  a  magical  transmutation,  1  plus  1 
emphatically  coalesces  into  1,  the  sacramental  formula  only 
stating  what  is  actually  the  basic  experience  of  all  true  lovers 
when  they  have  found  each  other  and  become  joined  with  an 
attachment  that  projects  happily  the  single  prospect  of  their 
two  lives'  duration. 


The  alchemy  of  nature,  melting  the  two  hearts  in  a  mutual 
fire,  reduces  the  l-plus-i  to  the  i-made-out-of-2.  But  nature's 
alchemy  does  not  stop  there.  Instead  of  the  normal  multiplica- 
tion table,  which  we  learn  in  school  and  use  in  business  and 
practical-minded  calculations,  nature  follows  a  witches'  or  wiz- 
ards' multiplication  table-a  Hexeneinmaleins,  as  Goethe  calls 
it  in  his  Faust.  After  a  brief  delay,  when  i  plus  1  has  become  1, 
the  married  couple  normally  evolves  into  a  triad;  the  first  child 
is  born.  And  if  this  evolution  is  not  checked  by  prudent  plan- 
ning, an  uncontrollable  series  evolves.  The  1  that  had  been 
made  of  1  plus  1  grows  into  ,\,  5,  6— in  fact  goes  on  in  a  virtually 
indefinite  series;  the  odd  fact  being,  furthermore,  that  each 
additional  unit  contains  potentially,  and  hands  down  into  the 
future,  the  plenitude  of  the  biological  inheritance  of  the  first 
fertile  unit,  for  it  shows  forth  features  that  were  latent  in  both 
terms  of  that  original  1  made  of  1  plus  1. 

Mythical  thought,  when  evolving  a  manifold  of  godly  forces 
and  figures  out  of  the  one  primal  source  or  essence,  proceeds 
according  to  this  dialectical  rationale.  And  Brahmamcal  thought, 
in  its  brilliant  formulae  of  psychological  self-analysis,  which 
were  developed  in  the  Upanisadic  period,  traces  the  same  kind 
of  dialectical  evolution  in  man's  consciousness;  as  follows.  Deep 
sleep  (susupti),  when  regarded  from  the  point  of  view  either  of 
waking  consciousness  (vaisvanara)  or  of  consciousness  in  the  web 
of  dream  (taijasa),  would  seem  to  be  a  state  of  sheer  non-being 
(a-sat);  nevertheless,  it  is  from  this  sheer  blank  that  the  dreams 
emerge,  like  clouds  condensing  out  of  the  void  of  the  firma- 
ment; and  from  this  same  unconsciousness,  moreover,  the  wak- 
ing state  suddenly  bursts  into  being.  Furthermore,  it  is  back 
into  this  emptiness  that  the  little  cosmos  of  man's  waking  con- 
sciousness dissolves  and  disappears  in  sleep."  Thus  it  can  be  said 
that  the  emanation  of  dreams  and  the  passage  of  consciousness 
from  sleep  to  waking  are  two  stages,  or  two  varieties,  of  a  con- 

>«Cf.  infra,  pp.  361-368  and  57211. 



stantly  recurrent,  daily  repeated  little  cosmogony,  or  process  of 
world-creation,  within  the  microcosm.  Just  as  the  colossal  uni- 
verse evolves  from  some  transcendental  secret  source— the  es- 
sence beyond  name  and  form,  which  remains  unaffected  by  the 
process  of  torrential  flowing  forth— so  likewise,  the  mysterious 
dream-ego,  which  in  dreams  evolves  its  own  landscapes  and  ad- 
ventures as  well  as  the  visible,  tangible  individual,  who  becomes 
conscious  of  himself  when  waking— these  temporarily  emerge 
from  that  innermost  secret  essence  which  is  called  the  Self,  the 
bedrock  of  all  human  life  and  experience.  In  other  words,  the 
macrocosm ie  Self  (brahman)  and  the  microcosmic  (alman)  work 
parallel  effects.  They  are  one  and  the  same,  only  viewed  under 
two  aspects.  So  that  when  the  individual  makes  contact  with 
the  Self  that  he  holds  within,  he  comes  into  possession  of  divine 
cosmic  power  and  stands  centered  beyond  all  anxiety,  strife,  and 
change.  The  attainment  of  this  goal  is  the  one  and  only  end 
of  Vedic  and  Vedantic  thought. 

What  we  have  here  is  a  philosophy  of  life-matter  and  life- 
force,  a  philosophy  of  the  life-process  and  body,  rather  than  of 
the  mind  and  spirit.  Hence  the  reasonings  of  the  Brahmanic 
tradition  were  readily  compatible  with  the  earlier  mythology 
of  the  Vedas,  which  in  its  turn  had  been  a  pictorial  representa- 
tion of  the  same  vital  principles  and  situations.  And  in  so  far 
as  we  are  not  sheer  mind,  sheer  disembodied  spirit,  we  are  all 
naturally  concerned  with  this  kind  of  philosophizing.  Its  main 
task  is  to  determine  and  define  the  true  essence  of  our  apparent 
life;  to  locate  that  aspect  of  our  dynamic  totality  with  which  we 
must  identify  ourselves  if  we  are  to  come  to  terms  with  the 
problem  of  existence.  Are  we  identical  with  our  bodily  frame? 
Or  is  our  essence  to  be  sought,  perhaps,  by  way  of  the  purest 
emotional  and  spiritual  virtues  of  that  intangible  entity  that 
we  call  our  soul?  Or  again,  can  it  be  that  there  is  something 
beyond  not  only  the  tangible  body  but  also  the  apprehended 
features  and  processes  of  the  intangible  soul,  which  abides  with 


us  as  the  source  and  silently  guiding  force  that  animates  both 
the  body  and  the  soul?  What  are  we?  What  can  we  realistically 
hope  for? 

These  pressing  questions  cannot  be  solved  by  ontological  an- 
alysis. Metaphysical  arguments  end  in  no  solution.  The  root 
that  underlies  and  gives  existence  to  the  analyzing,  arguing 
mind  as  well  as  to  the  body  that  supports  it  must  be  touched. 
The  mind  itsell  is  inadequate  for  this  task  (cf.  Kant,  Cutiquc  vl 
Pure  Reason)  and  has  to  be  put  at  rest. 

In  the  early  Vedic  age  the  work  of  transcending  mind  was 
accomplished  by  the  "way  of  devotion"  (bhukti-mmgri);  whole- 
hearted dedication,  that  is  to  say,  to  the  symbolic  personalities 
of  the  gods  and  the  absorbing  rituals  of  their  perpetual  worship. 
During  the  following  centuries  the  concentration  of  the  philos- 
ophers became  introverted  and  the  goal  was  sought  along  an 
inner  path.  But  either  way,  the  boon  of  life's  bountitul  power 
was  won.  A  rooted,  absolutely  firm  position  was  attained,  where 
the  dynamism  of  the  phenomenal  spectacle  and  the  permanence 
of  the  animating  principle  could  be  experienced  simultaneously 
as  one  and  the  same  great  mystery— the  mystery  of  that  abso- 
lutely transcendent,  serene  being  which  is  immanent,  and  made 
partially  manifest,  in  the  phenomenal  becoming  of  the  world. 


The  creative  philosophers  of  the  period  of  the  Upanisads, 
examining  the  problem  of  the  atman,  were  the  pioneer  intel- 
lectuals and  freethinkers  of  their  age.  They  stepped  beyond 


the  traditional  priestly  view  of  the  cosmos.  Yet,  as  we  have  seen, 
they  went  beyond  it  without  dissolving  or  even  criticizing  it; 
tor  the  sphere  in  which  they  delved  was  not  the  same  as  that 
which  the  priests  had  monopolized.  They  turned  their  backs 
on  the  external  universe— the  realm  interpreted  in  the  myths 
and  controlled  by  the  complicated  rituals  of  the  sacrifice— be- 
cause they  were  discovering  something  more  interesting.  They 
had  found  the  interior  world,  the  inward  universe  of  man  him- 
self, and  within  that  the  mystery  of  the  Self.  This  transported 
them  far  from  the  empire  of  the  numerous  anthropomorphic 
deities  who  were  the  vested  governors  of  both  the  macrocosm 
and  the  sense  functions  of  the  microcosmic  organism.  The  in- 
troverted Brahmanic  philosophers  were  therefore  spared  that 
head-on  collision  with  the  priests  and  with  the  past  which 
Democriius,  Anaxagoras,  and  the  other  scientist-pliilosopheis 
of  Greece  experienced  when  their  scientific  interpretations  of 
the  celestial  bodies  and  other  phenomena  ol  the  universe  began 
to  controvert  the  ideas  held  by  the  priests  and  supported  by  the 
gods.  The  sun  could  not  be  both  a  divine,  anthropomorphic 
being  named  Helios  and  a  glowing  sphere  of  incandescent  mat- 
ter; one  had  to  settle  for  one  view  or  the  other.  When  a  phi- 
losopher's focus,  on  the  other  hand  (as  was  the  case  in  India), 
is  on  a  mystery  the  counterpart  of  which  hi  the  established 
theology  is  but  a  metaphysical,  anonymous  conception,  well 
above  and  beyond  the  anthropomorphized  powers,  and  revered 
simply  as  the  indescribable  fountainhead  of  the  cosmos  (an  ens 
entis  with  which  the  polytheistic,  more  concrete,  popular  ritual 
cannot  be  directly  concerned),  then  there  can  be  neither  an  oc- 
casion nor  a  possibility  for  any  outright  theological-philosoph- 
ical collision. 

The  new  direction  of  thought  nevertheless  brought  about  a 

really  dangerous  devaluation  both  of  the  ritualistic  theology  and 

of  the  visible  universe  with  which  that  theology  was  concerned; 

for  instead  of  devoting  attention  to  the  gods  and  the  outer 



world,  the  now  generation  was  turning  its  whole  consideration 
to  that  all-transcending,  truly  supernatural  principle  from  which 
the  forces,  phenomena,  and  divine  directors  of  the  natural  world 
proceeded:  furthermore,  these  creative  freethinkers  were  actu- 
ally finding  and  making  contact  with  that  principle  within 
themselves.  Consequently,  such  intellectual  energy  as  had  for- 
merly been  devoted  to  the  study  and  development  of  a  machin- 
ery for  the  mastery  of  the  demonic  and  divine  forces  of  the 
cosmos— through  an  elaborate  system  of  sacrificial  propitiation 
and  appeasing  incantation— was  being  diverted  inward,  where 
it  had  just  made  contact  with  the  supreme  life-force  itself.  The 
cosmic  energy  was  being  taken  at  its  fountainhead,  where  it 
came  at  its  maximum  of  strength  and  abundance.  As  a  result, 
all  those  secondary,  merely  derivative  streams  of  energy,  which 
had  been  dammed,  canalized,  and  put  to  human  use  through 
the  magic  machinery  of  priestly  ritual,  were  being  left  behind. 
In  Indian  thought,  not  only  the  gods  but  the  whole  outer  world 
was  dwindling  in  importance. 

"Yajfiavalkya,"  we  read,  "the  great  sage,  one  day  came  to 
Janaka,  the  magnificent  emperor  of  Videha.  And  the  sage 
thought  that  he  would  not  reveal  anything  [he  only  wished  to 
procure  a  donation].  1  lowever,  this  same  Janaka  and  Yajfiavalkya 
had  talked  together  on  a  former  occasion,  and  the  sage  at  that 
time  had  granted  the  emperor  a  boon.  Janaka  had  begged  the 
liberty  of  asking,  in  the  future,  any  question  he  liked,  and 
Yajfiavalkya  had  acceded  to  the  request.  Therefore  when  the 
sage  now  entered  upon  his  audience,  Janaka  immediately  chal- 
lenged him  with  a  question. 

"  'Yajfiavalkya,'  said  the  emperor,  'what  is  the  light  by  which 
man  is  served?' 

"  'The  light  of  the  sun,  O  Emperor,'  said  the  sage  [still  intent 
on  revealing  as  little  as  possible];  'for  it  is  by  the  light  of  th< 
sun  that  man  sits  down,  goes  out,  works,  and  comes  back  home.' 


"  Quite  so.  But  when  the  sun  has  set,  O  Yajnavalkya,  what 
then  is  the  light  by  which  man  is  served?' 

"The  sage  [as  though  to  tantalize  his  royal  pupil]  answered: 
'The  moon  then  becomes  his  light:  for  it  is  then  by  the  light  of 
the  moon  that  lie  sits  down,  goes  out,  works,  and  comes  back 

"  'That  is  so,'  said  Janaka;  'but  when  both  the  sun  and  the 
moon  are  down,  what  then,  ()  Yajnavalkya,  is  the  light  by  which 
man  is  served?' 

"  'The  fire  becomes  his  light,'  replied  Yajnavalkya;  'for  it  is 
then  by  firelight  that  lie  sits  down,  goes  out,  works,  and  comes 
back  home.'  " 

The  emperor  again  agreed.  "  'O  Yajnavalkya,  that  is  true; 
but  when  the  sun  and  moon  have  set  and  the  fire  has  gone  out, 
what  then  is  the  light  by  wlikh  man  is  served?' " 

The  sage  continued  to  retreat.  "  'Sound,'  he  said,  'then  serves 
as  light;  for  it  is  with  the  voice  as  1) is  light  that  he  then  sits 
down,  goes  out,  works,  and  comes  back  home.  O  Emperor,  when 
it  is  so  dark  that  one  cannot  see  one's  own  hand  before  one's 
face,  if  a  sound  is  uttered,  then  one  can  follow  the  sound.' 

"  'That  indeed  is  true,'  said  the  Emperor  patiently;  'but,  O 
Yajnavalkya,  when  the  sun  and  moon  have  set,  and  the  fire  has 
gone  out,  and  there  is  not  a  sound— what  is  then  the  light  by 
which  man  is  served?'  " 

The  sage  was  dri\cn  to  the  wall.  "  'Atman,  the  Self,'  he  de- 
clared, 'becomes  his  light;  for  it  is  by  the  light  of  the  Self  that 
he  sits  down,  goes  out,  woiks,  and  comes  back  home.'  " 

The  emperor  was  pleased;  yet  the  discussion  had  still  to  come 
to  his  point.  "'That  is  true,  O  Yajnavalkya,  but  of  the  many 
principles  within  man,  which  is  the  Self?'  " 

Only  when  this  question  had  been  asked  did  the  sage  at  last 
begin  to  teach  the  king.1* 

The  Self  taught  by  Yajnavalkya  to  King  janaka  was  the  same 

14  Brhaddrariyaka  Upanifad  4.  3.  1-7. 



as  that  being  taught  by  all  the  other  great  masters  of  the  new 
wisdom— some  notion  of  which  can  be  gained  by  a  brief  review 
of  a  number  of  typical  Brahmanic  similes  and  metaphors,  culled 
at  random  from  the  Upanisads  of  that  prolific  period. 

GUatasamvrtam  akainm  ntyamane  ghafe  yathi, 
ghafo  niyeta  nakaiam  tatha  jivo  nabhopamah. 

"Space  is  enclosed  by  earthen  jars.  Just  as  space  is  not  carried 
along  with  the  jar  when  this  is  removed  [from  one  place  to 
another],  so  JTva  [i.e.,  ihc  Self  when  contained  in  the  vessel  of 
the  subtle  and  gross  body],  like  infinite  space  [remains  unmoved 
and  unaffected]."  ,8 

It  matters  not  to  Space  whether  it  be  inside  or  outside  of  a 
jar.  The  Self,  similarly,  does  not  suffer  when  a  body  goes  to 

Ghatmmd  vividhaharam  bhidyamanam  punah.  puna}}, 
tad  bhagnam  na  ca  jiinati  sa  janaii  ca  nityahafy. 

"The  various  forms,  like  earthen  jars,  going  to  pieces  again 
and  again,  He  does  not  know  them  to  be  broken;  and  yet  He 
knows  eternally."  " 

The  Self  does  not  become  aware  of  bodies.  They  can  be 
broken,  they  can  be  whole.  The  Self  is  the  knower  of  Its  own 
undifferentiated  plenitude,  beyond  form,  just  as  the  element 
ether  is  beyond  form.  And  just  as  the  element  ether,  being  the 
first-born  of  the  five  elements,"  contains  potentially  all  the 
qualities  of  the  other  four,  as  well  as  everything  that  can  emerge 
from  them  (all  the  objects  and  figures  of  sensual  experience),  so 

"Amrtabindu  Upanifad  13. 
"lb.  14. 

"Air,  fire,  water,  and  earth  are  supposed  to  have  emanated,  in  that 
order,  from  ether. 



likewise  the  Self,  which,  being  the  sole  reality,  is  the  source  of 

Yatha  nadyaht  syandamana}}  samudre 
astam  gacchanti  narnarupe  vihaya, 
tatha  xridvan  ndmarupad  x/imuktafy 
paratparam  purufnm  upaiti  divyam. 

"As  flowing  rivers  go  to  rest  in  the  ocean  and  there  leave 
behind  them  name  and  form,  so  likewise  the  Knower,  released 
from  name  and  form,  goes  to  that  divine  Man  (purusa),  who  is 
beyond  the  beyond  (paratparam:  higher  than  the  highest,  tran- 
scending the  transcendent)."  19 

Descriptive  metaphors  were  multiplied  to  form  a  string  of 
classic  images,  surrounding  like  a  garland  the  mystery  of  the 
Self.  "Divide  the  fig";  "Place  this  salt  in  water";  "Just  as,  my 
dear,  by  one  piece  of  clay  everything  made  of  clay  may  be 
known."  "The  various  forms  going  to  pieces,  he  does  not  know 
them  to  be  broken."  "This  whole  world  has  that  as  its  soul;  that 
is  Reality;  that  is  Atrhan;  that  art  thou,  Svetakctu."  I9 

"That  art  thou"  (tat  tvam  asi),  this  word  of  the  old  Brahman 
Aruni  to  his  son,  which  became  the  "great  formula"  (maha- 
vakya)  of  Vedantic  truth,  reduced  the  entire  spectacle  of  nature 
lo  its  single,  all-pervading,  most  subtle,  absolutely  intangible, 
hidden  essence.  Svctakctu  was  taught,  by  his  lesson,  to  look 
beyond  the  visible  principle  celebrated  in  the  Vedic  Hymn  of 
Food;  for  the  idea  that  food  in  its  various  manifestations,  visible 
and  tangible,  was  the  highest  essence  of  the  universe,  had  long 
since  been  outgrown.  The  life-essence  was  now  to  be  conceived 
of  as  invisible  (like  the  void  within  the  seed  of  the  fig),  all  suf- 
fusing (like  the  salt  in  the  pan  of  water),  intangible,  yet  the 
final  substance  of  all  phenomena.  It  could  be  ascertained  but 
not  grasped,  like  the  dissolved  salt— and  was  extremely  subtle, 
like  the  presence  within  the  seed.  Therefore,  one  was  not  to  re- 

18  Mutidaha  Upanifad  3.  s.  8. 

19  Chandogya  Upanifad  6.  Cf.  supra,  pp.  335-337. 



gard  oneself  as  the  gross  and  tangible  individual;  not  even  as  the 
subtle  personality;  but  as  the  principle  out  of  which  those  had 
emanated.  All  manifested  things  whatsoever  were  to  be  known 
to  be  Its  "transformations"  (vikara).  The  forms  were  accidental. 
Furthermore,  the  forms  were  fragile:  pottery  breaks,  but  clay  re- 
mains. Tat  Warn  asi  means:  "thou  art  to  be  aware  of  the  identity 
of  thine  inmost  essence  with  the  invisible  substance  of  all  and 
everything"— which  represents  an  extreme  withdrawal  from  the 
differentiated  sphere  of  individualized  appearances.  The  gross 
and  subtle  forms  of  the  world  therewith  were  relegated,  in  the 
hierarchy  of  the  gradations  of  reality,  to  a  radically  lower  rank 
than  that  of  the  formless  void. 

Dve  vava  brahmano  rupe  mvrtam  cdmurtam  ca, 

atha  yan  murtan  tad  asatyam  yad  amurtam  tat  satyam, 

tad  brahma  yad  brahma  taj  jyotifr. 

"There  are,  assuredly,  two  forms  of  Brahman:  the  formed  and 
the  formless.  Now,  that  which  is  formed  is  unreal  (asatyam),  while 
that  which  is  formless  is  real  (satyam),  is  Brahman,  is  light. 

"Light,"  the  text  goes  on,  "that  is  the  sun,  and  even  it  [the 
sun]  has  this  syllable  OM  as  its  Self."  20 

It  required  time  to  evolve  and  press  to  its  conclusion  the  con- 
ception of  the  absolutely  formless.  The  quest  for  the  "really  real" 
rested  for  a  time,  therefore,  with  such  phenomena  as  the  sun  in 
the  macrocosm  (as  the  primary  source  of  light),  the  life-breath 
(prana)  in  the  microcosm  (as  the  primary  source  of  life),  and  the 
ritual  syllable  OM.  These  remain  in  the  texts,  and  still  serve  as 
preliminary  holds.  But  in  the  end  the  courageous  step  was  taken, 
and  the  goal  of  absolute  transcendence  attained. 

Three  stages,  or  levels,  in  the  sphere  of  human  consciousness 
were  easily  recognized: 

1.  the  waking  state,  where  the  sense  faculties  are  turned  out- 
ward, and  the  field  of  cognition  is  that  of  the  gross  body; 

*>  Maitrt  Upanisad  6.  3.  For  satya  and  asatya,  cf.  supra,  pp.  166-167. 


2.  the  dreaming  state,  where  the  field  is  that  of  subtle  bodies, 
self-luminous  and  magically  fluid;  and 

3.  the  blissful  state  of  dreamless  deep  sleep. 

The  second  of  these  three  was  understood  to  be  a  glimpse  into 
the  subtle,  supra-  and  infra  terrestrial  spheres  of  the  gods  and 
demons,  which  are  within,  as  well  as  without; 21  a  world  no  less 
unsatisfactory,  however,  than  that  of  waking  consciousness,  be- 
cause equally  fraught  with  terror,  suffering,  delusory  forms,  and 
incessant  change.  There  was  little  temptation,  consequently,  to 
identify  this  sphere  with  that  of  perfect  being.  The  blissful  state 
of  dreamless  sleep,  however,  was  different;  for  it  was  untroubled 
by  the  vicissitudes  of  consciousness  and  seemed  to  represent  a 
perfect  return  of  the  life-force  to  its  intrinsic  state  of  "aloofness 
and  isolation"  (kaivalya),  existence  in  and  by  itself.  This  appears 
to  have  been  the  conception  of  the  goal  held  in  the  Sarikhya.22 
And  yet,  discussions  inevitably  arose  as  to  whether  this  state, 
which  involves  an  abasement,  or  even  complete  annihilation,  of 
consciousness,  could  really  represent  the  ultimate  ideal  and  con- 
dition of  spiritual  life.29 

The  sage  Yajnavalkya,  in  a  celebrated  dialogue  with  his  beloved 
wife  Maitreyl,  states  that  for  the  released  and  perfect  knower 
there  is  no  consciousness  following  death,  because  all  pairs  of 
opposites,  all  dual  states,  including  that  of  the  differentiation  of 
subject  and  object,  have  then  disappeared. 

"When  there  is  a  duality,  as  it  were,  then  one  sees  another; 
one  smells  another;  one  tastes  another;  one  speaks  to  another;  one 
hears  another;  one  thinks  of  another;  one  touches  another; 
one  understands  another.  But  when  everything  has  become  just 
one's  own  self,  then  whereby  and  whom  would  one  see?  whereby 
and  whom  would  one  smell?  whereby  and  whom  would  one  taste? 

21  The  heavens  and  hells  were  regarded  as  the  macrocosmic  counterpart 
of  the  realm  that  is  entered  in  dream. 
2-  Cf.  supra,  p.  330. 

*B  Cf.  Hume's  index,  under  "sleep"  (op.  tit.,  p.  534). 

whereby  and  to  whom  would  one  speak?  whereby  and  whom 
would  one  hear?  whereby  and  ot  whom  would  one  think?  whereby 
and  whom  would  one  touch?  whereby  and  whom  would  one  un- 
derstand? whereby  would  one  understand  him  by  means  of  whom 
one  understands  this  All?  .  .  .  Lo,  whereby  would  one  understand 
the  understander? 

"That  Self  (atman)  is  not  this,  not  that  (neti,  neti).  It  is  un- 
seizable,  for  it  cannot  be  seized;  indestructible,  for  it  cannot  be 
destroyed;  unattached,  for  it  docs  not  attach  itself;  it  is  unbound, 
it  does  not  tremble,  it  is  not  injured."  -* 

The  Self  is  not  easily  known.  It  cannot  be  realized  except  by 
the  greatest  effort.  Every  vestige  of  the  normal  waking  attitude, 
which  is  appropriate  and  necessary  for  the  daily  struggle  for  ex- 
istence (artha),  pleasure  (kdma),  and  the  attainment  of  righteous- 
ness (dliarma),  must  be  abandoned.  The  really  serious  seeker  of 
the  Self  has  to  become  an  introvert,  disinterested  absolutely  in 
the  pursuits  of  the  world— disinterested  even  in  the  continuance 
of  his  individual  existence;  for  the  Self  is  beyond  the  sphere  of 
the  senses  and  intellect,  beyond  even  the  profundity  of  intuitive 
awareness  (buddhi),  which  is  the  source  of  dreams  and  the  fun- 
damental support  of  the  phenomenal  personality.  "The  Creator, 
the  divine  Being  who  is  self-existent  (svayam-bhu),  drilled  the 
apertures  of  the  senses,  so  that  they  should  go  outward  in  various 
directions;  that  is  why  man  perceives  the  external  world  and  not 
the  Inner  Self  (antar-atman).  The  wise  man,  however,  desirous  of 
the  state  of  immortality,  turning  his  eyes  inward  and  backward 
(pratyag,  'into  the  interior'),  beholds  the  Self." 25 

The  Metaphor  of  the  Chariot 

"The  Self  (atman)  is  the  owner  of  the  chariot;  the  body  (iarira) 
is  the  chariot;  intuitive  discernment  and  awareness  (buddhi)  is 

24  Brhadarainyaka  Upanifad  4.  5.  15.  (Hume,  op.  cit.,  p.  147). 
2B  Kafha  Upanijad  4.  1. 



the  charioteer;  the  thinking  function  (manas)  is  the  bridle;  the 
sense-forces  (indriya)  are  the  horses;  and  the  objects  or  spheres 
of  sense-perception  (visaya)  are  the  ranging-ground  (gocara:  the 
roads  and  pasturages  of  the  animal).  The  individual  in  whom 
the  Self,  the  sense-forces,  and  the  mind  are  joined  is  called  the 
eater  or  enjoyer  (bhoktar)." 2B 

The  sense-forces  of  perception  are  (in  sequence  from  the  finest, 
or  most  subtle,  to  the  most  tangible  and  gross): 

1.  hearing,  which  is  effected  through  the  ear, 

2.  seeing,  which  is  effected  thiough  the  eye, 

3.  smelling,  which  is  effected  through  the  nose, 

4.  tasting,  which  is  effected  through  the  tongue, 

5.  touching,  which  is  effected  through  the  skin. 

These  are  the  five  sense-forces  of  knowing  (jndncjidriyani),  which 
in  living  organisms  make  for  the  attitude  of  eater  or  enjoyer 
(bhoktar).  The  bhoktar  is  "he  who  experiences  pleasant  and  un- 
pleasant sensations  and  feelings,  because  endowed  with  receptiv- 
ity." We  eat,  as  it  were,  our  sense  perceptions,  and  these  then  are 
assimilated  by  the  organism  as  a  kind  of  food.  The  eyes  swallow 
objects  that  are  beautiful,  the  ears  become  drunk  with  music  and 
the  nose  with  delicate  perfumes.  But  the  contrary  principle,  that 
of  activity  or  spontaneity  (kartar),  also  is  constantly  in  effect.  Just 
as  the  bhoktar  functions  through  the  receptive  senses,  so  the 
kartar  through  the  forces  of  action  (karmendriymii),  which  pro- 
vide for: 

1.  speaking,  which  is  effected  through  the  organs  of  speech, 

2.  grasping,  which  is  effected  through  the  hands, 

3.  locomotion,  which  is  effected  through  the  feet, 

4.  evacuation,  which  is  effected  through  the  rectum, 

5.  generation,  which  is  effected  through  the  genitals. 

"  lb.  S.  3-4. 



The  bhoktar  and  kartar,  lunuioiiing  together,  enable  the  healthy 
organism  to  carry  on  the  processes  of  life.-'7 

"For  one  who  is  devoid  of  real  insight  and  has  not  properly 
and  constantly  yoked-and-tamed  his  mind  [that  is  to  say:  for  one 
who  has  not  disciplined  and  controlled  both  his  conscious  mental 
faculty  (manas)  and  the  intuitive  awareness  [buddhi)  which  is  a 
manifestation  of  the  irrational  unconscious],  the  sense-forces  be- 
come unmanageable,  like  the  wicked  horses  of  a  charioteer.  But 
for  him  who  is  always  full  of  intuitive  awareness  (vijnanavant) 
and  who  has  tamed-and-yoked  his  mind,  the  senses  arc  subdued 
like  the  good  horses  of  a  charioteer. 

"He  who  lacks  the  proper  intuitive  awareness,  and  is  thought- 
less and  impure,  does  not  reach  That  Place  (pada:  the  state  of 
transcendental  existence);  he  tips  over  into  the  whirlpool  of  death 
and  rebirth  (sarhsara).  But  he  who  is  full  of  intuitive  awareness, 
thoughtful  and  pure  at  all  times,  reaches  That  Place,  whence 
one  is  not  reborn.  The  man  who  has  for  his  charioteer  intuitive 
awareness,  and  for  his  bridle  the  mind,  attains  the  end  of  his 
journey— which  is  a  great  distance  away.  That  goal  is  the  supreme 
abode  of  Visnu  [the  cosmic,  all-pervading  Self  divine]."  28 

Visnu's  celestial  paradise,  which  is  situated  on  the  upper  sur- 
face of  the  dome  of  the  firmament  and  is  known  as  his  "third  step" 
because  it  came  into  existence  beneath  his  foot  with  the  third  of 
his  three  gigantic,  cosmic  strides,2*  symbolizes  the  state  of  that 
one  who,  as  an  accomplished  initiate,  has  become  released  from 
bondage  and  has  been  made  divine  through  the  realization  of  his 
own  intrinsic  spirituality.  Once  having  broken  through  the 
shrouding  veils  to  the  Self,  by  virtue  of  a  conquest  of  the  forces 
of  nature  in  his  own  organism,  the  chariot-rider  is  no  longer  in- 

27  Cf.  supra,  p.  317. 

28  Kafha  Upanisad  3.  5-9.  Compare  Plato's  description  of  the  Chariot  in 
the  Phaedrus. 

29  Supra,  p.  350;  cf.  also,  Zimmer,  Myths  and  Symbols  in  Indian  Art  and 
Civilization,  pp.  131-132. 



volved  in  worldly  sufferings,  pleasures,  and  pursuits,  but  has  be- 
come, now  and  forever,  free. 

Alman:  lite  Conliollcr  Within 

The  Self— "that  thread  by  which  this  world  and  the  other  world 
and  all  things  are  tied  together"  3°— is  the  timeless  controller 
within.  "He  dwells  in  the  breath,  he  is  within  the  breath;  the 
breath,  however,  does  not  know  him:  the  breath  is  las  body,  he 
controls  the  breath  from  within.  lie  dwells  in  the  mind,  he  is 
within  the  mind;  the  mind,  however,  docs  not  know  him:  the 
mind  is  his  body,  he  controls  the  mind  from  within."  He  is  like- 
wise within  speech,  the  eye,  the  ear,  the  skin,  the  understanding, 
and  the  semen.  Moreover,  in  like  manner,  he  is  within  the  ele- 
ments of  the  macrocosm.  "This  Self  dwells  in  the  element  earth 
and  controls  it  from  within:  the  earth  is  his  body";  yet  the  earth 
is  unaware  of  this  principle  inherent  in  its  atoms.  Karth  is  the 
most  tangible  o£  the  five  elements;  but  in  water,  fire,  and  air,  and 
in  ether  (the  most  subtle  of  the  five),  the  Self  is  equally  unknown. 
"The  Self  dwells  in  all  beings,  he  is  within  all  beings;  the  beings, 
however,  do  not  know  him:  all  beings  arc  his  body,  he  controls 
all  beings  from  within.  He  is  unseen,  yet  seeing;  unheard,  yet 
hearing;  untbought-of,  and  yet  'the  thinker'  (innnlnr).  He  is  un- 
known,and  yet  the  knower  (vijiiatar,  the  inner  principle  of  aware- 
ness). There  is  no  seer  but  him,  no  one  to  hear  but  him,  no  one 
thinking,  no  one  aware  but  him.  He  is  the  Self,  the  Ruler  within, 
the  One  Immortal."  B1  The  Self,  that  is  to  say,  is  the  actual  agent 
of  every  sense  and  thinking  process,  the  organs  merely  serving 
him  as  instruments. 

"That  gigantic  divine  Being  is  by  nature  inconceivable.  It  ap- 
pears to  be  more  subtle  than  the  subtlest,  much  farther  off  than 
the  farthest,  yet  here,  quite  near— deposited  right  here,  within 

80  Brhatlaranyaka  Upanifad  3.  7.  1. 

81  lb.  3.  7.  (rf.  Hume,  op.  cit.,  pp.  114-117). 



the  cave  [the  inmost  recess  of  the  heart]  of  those  who  see."  *2  The 
inner  experience  of  the  Self,  its  visualization  by  virtue  of  a  de- 
scent to  the  inmost  cave,  is  proof  enough  that  it  exists  everywhere, 
as  the  true  core  indwelling  every  being.  Indestructible  and  not 
susceptible  to  change,  it  both  transcends  the  universe  and  inheres 
in  every  particle  of  it;  yet  in  both  aspects  remains  undisclosed. 

"Not  for  the  sake  of  the  husband  is  the  husband  loved,  but 
for  the  sake  of  the  Self  is  the  husband  loved.  Not  for  the  sake  of 
the  wife  is  the  wife  loved,  but  for  the  sake  of  the  Self  is  the  wife 
loved.  Not  for  the  sake  of  the  sons  arc  the  sons  loved,  but  for 
the  sake  of  the  Self  arc  the  sons  loved. . .  .  Not  for  the  sake  of  all 
is  all  loved,  but  for  the  sake  of  the  Self  is  all  loved.  The  Self  is 
what  is  to  be  beheld,  heard,  reflected  on,  and  meditated  upon 
with  inner  concentration.  Verily,  by  beholding,  hearing,  reflect- 
ing upon,  and  by  the  intimate  knowledge  (vijiiana)  of,  the  Self, 
all  of  the  visible  and  tangible  universe  becomes  known."" 

"The  One  God  is  hidden  within  all  beings.  He  is  the  all- 
pervading,  all-filling  Inner  Self  (antar-atman)  of  all  beings;  the 
overseer  of  all  activities  [both  the  inward  and  the  outward,  both 
the  voluntary  and  the  involuntary];  the  inhabitant  (adhivasa)  of 
all  beings.  He  is  the  witness  [ever  watching,  uninvolved  in  what 
is  going  on],  the  guardian  (cetar),  complete  and  alone  (kevala),** 
beyond  the  gunas."" 

"The  sole  existing  ruler  is  the  Self  in  the  interior  of  all  transi- 

*zMundaka  Upanisad  3.  1.  7. 

w  Brhadaranyaka  Upanisad  2.  4.  5.  This  again  is  the  sage  Yajnavalkya 
speaking,  in  conversation  with  his  wife,  Maitrey!  (cf.  supra,  pp.  302-363). 

The  lesson  of  the  final  stanza  is  that  when  the  unique  inner  essence  of 
everything  is  realized  within,  the  various  masks  that  it  assumes  become 
translucent.  All  understanding,  as  well  as  all  sympathy  and  love,  is  based 
on  the  intrinsic  identity  of  the  Knower  and  the  Known.  Hatred  arises 
only  from  an  illusion  of  diversity. 

•*  Cf.  supra,  pp.  305-314. 

88  Svetdivatara  Upanisad  6.  11.  (cf.  Hume,  op.  cit.,  p.  409).  For  the 
gunas,  cf.  supra,  pp.  295-297. 



tory  creatures;  he  makes  manifold  his  one  form.  The  wise  behold 
him  standing  in  their  own  being;  hence  to  them  belongs  ever- 
lasting happiness— and  to  no  one  else. 

"He  is  the  enduring  amidst  the  non-enduring.  He  is  the  intel- 
ligence of  the  intelligent.  Though  One,  he  yet  produces  the  de- 
sires of  many.  The  wise  behold  him  standing  in  their  own  being; 
hence  to  them  belongs  everlasting  peace— and  to  no  one  else.89 

Through  fear  of  him  the  wind  blows, 
Through  fear  of  him  the  sun  rises, 
Through  fear  of  him  Agni  [the  god  of  fire], 

Indra  [the  causer  of  rain  and  storm,  king  of  the  gods], 
And  Death,  the  fifth,  all  hurry 

[to  perform  their  respective  tasks].87 

"A  plenitude  is  that  yonder  [the  transcendental  essence  which 
is  the  source  and  life  of  all];  a  plenitude  is  this  which  is  here  [the 
visible,  tangible  world].  Plenitude  is  scooped  from  plenitude 
[the  abundance  of  the  world  being  drawn  from  the  abundance 
of  the  divine],  and  yet,  though  the  plenitude  of  plenitude  is 
taken,  plenitude  remains."  S8 

Five  Metaphors 

"Just  as  the  spider  pours  forth  its  thread  from  itself  and  takes 
it  back  again;  just  as  herbs  grow  on  the  earth  and  hairs  from  a 
living  man,  even  so  the  universe  grows  from  the  Imperishable."88 

88  Hatha  Upanifad  5.  12-13.  (c**  Hume,  op.  cit.,  pp.  357-358). 

87  Taittiriya  Upanifad  2.  8.  (cf.  Hume,  op.  cit.,  p.  288).  The  meaning  is 
that  by  its  mere  being  the  Self  keeps  everything  going. 

88  Brhadara-nyaka  Upantsad  5.  1. 

8»/6.  1.  1.  7.  (cf.  Hume,  op.  cit.,  p.  367). 

Here  the  emphasis  is  laid  on  the  contrast  between  the  eternal  (nitya) 
and  the  transient  (anitya).  There  is  an  actual  transformation  of  the 
eternal  transcendental  essence  into  its  transitory  manifestations.  The  Im- 
perishable One  is  the  only  truly  abiding  essence,  however,  in  contradis- 
tinction to  its  transient  transformations,  which  make  up  the  phenomenal 



"Just  as  there  shoot  out  Irom  a  blazing  fire  sparks  by  the  thou- 
sands, resembling  the  fire,  so  do  the  various  beings  (or  states: 
bhava)  proceed  from  that  Imperishable;  and  into  It,  verily,  they 

"Like  the  butter  hidden  in  milk,  Pure  Consciousness  (vijni- 
i>a tn :  the  slate  of  Atman  as  Brahman,  sheer  bliss)  resides  in  every 
being.  It  is  to  be  constantly  churned,  with  the  mind  serving  as 
the  churning-rod."  " 

The  Metaphor  of  the  Two  Birds  on  One  Tree 

Una  iuparna  sayuja  sakhaya  samanarh  vrksam  pari$a-svajdte 
tayor  anyalt  pippnlaih  svadv  atiy  anaknann  anyo  abhicdkaUti 

"Two  birds  of  beautiful  plumage,  close  friends  and  compan- 
ions, reside  in  intimate  fellowship  on  the  selfsame  tree.  One  of 
them  eats  the  sweet  fruit  of  the  tree;  the  other,  without  eating, 

The  tree  with  the  twin  birds,  the  tree  of  life  or  of  the  human 
personality,  is  a  well-known  motif  in  Oriental  tapestries  and  car- 
pets. The  figure  is  interpreted  and  developed  in  the  succeeding 

Satndnc  vfkfe  purufo   nimagno   'nliaya   iocati   muhyamdnah 
justam  yadd  pasyaty  anyam  Uam  asya  mahimdnam  iti  vltaiokak 

"The  individual  life-monad  (purusa),  being  deluded,  laments, 
depressed  by  a  feeling  of  helplessness  (aniiaya:  of  not  being  a 
sovereign  lord);  but  when  he  beholds  on  the  same  tree  that  other, 
the  Lord  in  whom  the  pious  take  delight  (jusfam  Isam),  and  com- 
prehends His  greatness,  then  his  grief  is  gone";**  for  he  knows 
that  between  himself  and  that  other  there  is  a  fundamental 

40  Mundaka  Upanifad  s.  1.  1.  (cf.  Hume,  op.  ciu,  p.  370). 

41  Amrtabindu  Upanifad  so. 

42  Mundaka  Upanifad  5. 1. 1-».  (cf.  Hume,  op.  cit.,  p.  374). 



The  Two  Kinds  of  Knowledge 

"Two  kinds  of  knowledge  (vidya)  are  to  be  known:  that  of  the 
Brain  nan -of -sounds  (iabda-brahman)  and  that  of  the  Highest 
Brahman  (param-brahman)."  The  Brahman-of-sounds  is  the  ag- 
gregate of  all  the  hymns,  formulae,  charms,  incantations,  prayers, 
and  cxegetical  commentaries  that  constitute  the  Vedic  revelation. 
This  Brahman  cannot  be  the  Highest,  however,  because  it  is 
endowed  with  name  and  form;  names  to  assist  the  mind,  and  the 
sound-forms  of  speed),  song,  melody,  and  prose  (naman  and 
rupa).  "But  anyone  laved  (nisnala)  in  Sabda-Brahman  goes  on 
to  the  Highest  Brahman.  Having  studied  the  books  (grantha) 
assiduously  (abhyasa:  this  is  the  term  for  constant  endeavor  in 
yogic  practice),  the  wise,  intent  on  knowledge  solely,  and  on  the 
plenitude-of-knowledge  (vijnana),  should  discard  books  com- 
pletely—just as  a  person  trying  to  get  at  rice  throws  the  husks 

The  inferior,  preliminary  wisdom  is  like  a  raft— to  be  forsaken 
once  it  has  transported  its  voyager  10  his  destination.  Sacrificial 
lore  and  the  ethical  rituals  of  life  have  to  be  left  behind  at  the 
brink  of  the  higher  realization.44 

"This  is  to  be  attained  only  by  truthfulness  (satya)  and  asceti- 

*a  Amrtabindu  Upani$ad  17-18. 

Vijnana  ("the  plenitude-of-knowledge"):  the  vi-  here  refers  to  Infinity, 
which  is  all-comprohensive  and  leaves  no  margin  wherein  any  unincluded, 
second  entity  might  exist.  Vijnana  is  therefore  nondual  (advaita)  knowl- 
edge (jndna),  and  as  such  synonymous  with  the  state  known  to  Vedanta  as 
Turiya,  the  "Fourth."  This  is  beyond  the  three  planes  of  waking  con- 
sciousness, dream  consciousness,  and  deep  sleep  (cf.  infra,  pp.  372-378). 
Such  would  seem  to  be  the  meaning  of  the  term  vijUana  in  the  Bhagavad 
Gitd  also. 

*4  Throughout  the  later  periods  of  the  Hindu  tradition  the  term  'lower 
wisdom"  (aparavidya)  has  been  regarded  as  referring  to  wisdom  committed 
to  writing:  book  lore  is  to  be  finally  discarded.  The  injunction  resembles 
that  of  the  European  alchemists,  "rumpiti  libros  ne  corda  vestra  rumf>an- 
tur,"  but  lacks  the  touch  of  polemic  criticism. 


cism(tapas),  real  insight (samyag-jnana)  and  unbroken  continence 
(brahmacarya).  Consisting ot  divine  light,  resplendent,  It  resides 
within  the  body.  Ascetics  behold  It,  who  have  annihilated  their 

"This  Self  is  not  attained  through  teaching,  intelligence,  or 
much  learning.  It  is  attained  by  him  only  whom  It  chooses.  To 
such  a  one  this  Self  discloses  Its  proper  nature  {tanum  svam)."4Q 

"Verily,  the  Self  that  is  in  the  three  states  of  waking  (jagrat), 
dream  {svapna),  and  dreamless  sleep  (su.yupli),  is  to  he  understood 
as  one  and  the  same.  For  him  who  has  transcended  this  triad  of 
states,  there  is  no  rebirth. 

"Being  verily  one,  the  Self-of-all-beings-and-elemcnts  is  present 
in  every  being.  It  is  beheld  onefold  and  manifold  simultaneously, 
like  the  moon  reflected  in  water."" 

The  Union  of  the  Life-Monad  with  the  Spiritual-Self 

"Just  as  a  man  fully  embraced  by  his  beloved  wife  does  not 
know  anything  at  all,  either  external  or  internal,  so  does  this  man 
(purusa:  the  individual  life-monad),  embraced  fully  by  the  su- 
premely knowing  Sph  it  ual-Self  (praj fiat  man),  not  know  anything 
at  all,  either  external  or  internal.  That  is  his  form  devoid  of  sor- 
rows, in  which  all  desires  are  fulfilled;  in  which  his  only  desire 
is  the  Self  [which  he  has  now  attained];  in  which  he  is  without 
desire.  In  that  state  a  father  is  no  father,  a  mother  no  mother, 
the  worlds  no  worlds,  the  gods  no  gods,  ...  a  thief  no  thief,  an 
ascetic  no  ascetic.  Unattended  by  virtuous  works,  unattended  by 

*H  Mundaka  Upanisad  3.  1.  5.  (cf.  Hume,  op.  cii.,  p.  374). 

ifllb.  3.  2.  3.  (ti.  Hume,  op.  cit..  p.  376).  Compare  the  Christian  doctrine 
of  Grace. 

*J  Amrtabindu  Upanisad  11-12. 

There  is  but  one  moon  in  the  nightly  firmament,  yet  it  is  reflected  in 
numerous  water  jars  standing  in  the  moonlight.  The  jars,  perishable  clay, 
are  compared  to  individuals. 



evil  works,  he  has  crossed  to  the  other  shore,  beyond  the  sorrows 
of  the  heart."*8 

Turiya:  "The  Fourth"— and  the  Meaning  of  the  Syllable  OM 

The  very  short  Mdndukya  Upanisad,  which  consists  of  but 
twelve  verses,  has  come  to  be  regarded  as  the  concentrated 
extract  and  epitome  of  the  teaching  of  the  entire  corpus  of  the 
one  hundred  and  eight  Upanisads.  Its  theme  is  the  syllable  OM, 
which  is  written  3ff  or  £>.  and  through  which  the  mystery  of 
Brahman  is  gathered  to  a  point.  The  text  first  treats  of  OM  in 
terms  of  the  Upanisadic  doctrine  ol  the  three  states  of  waking, 
dream,  and  sleep,  but  then  passes  on  to  the  "Fourth"  (turiya), 
thus  transporting  us  beyond  (lie  typical  Upanisadic  .sphere  into 
that  of  the  later,  classic,  Advaita  Vedfuita. 

We  may  well  conclude  the  present  chapter,  and  at  the  same 
time  prepare  ourselves  for  the  next  development  of  the  orthodox 
tradition,  by  reviewing  this  extraordinary  text  in  its  entirety. 

/.  OM!—This  imperishable,  sound  is  the  whole  of  this  visible 
universe.  Its  explanation  is  as  follows.  What  has  become,  what 
is  becoming,  what  will  become— verily,  all  of  this  is  the  sound 
OM.  And  what  is  beyond  these  three  states  of  the  world  of  time 
—that  too,  verily,  is  the  sound  OM. 

There  are  two  spheres,  that  is  to  say,  which  arc  identical: 
i.  the  phenomenal,  visible  sphere  (that  of  change  \jagaf],  the 
Heraclitean  flux),  wherein  the  manifestations  of  time  appear  and 
perish,  and  2.  the  transcendent,  timeless  sphere,  which  is  beyond 
yet  one  with  it  (that  of  imperishable  Being).  Both  of  these  are 
symbolized  and  present  in  the  holy  syllable  OM. 

2.  All  of  this  (with  a  sweeping  gesture,  pointing  to  the  universe 
round  about)  is  Brahman.  This  Self  (placing  the  hand  on  the 
heart)  also  is  Brahman. 

Here  again  is  the  nondual  doctrine.  The  essence  of  the  numer- 

48  Brhaddrartyaka  Upanisad  4.  3.  21-22.  (cf.  Hume,  op.  cit.,  pp.  136-137). 


ous  phenomena  of  the  macrocosm  is  one,  and  is  identical,  more- 
over, with  the  essence  of  the  microcosm.  The  mystery  of  the 
universe,  with  all  its  stratifications  o£  the  gross  and  subtle,  life 
in  all  its  forms,  matter  in  all  its  modifications,  may  be  approached, 
therefore,  either  from  within  or  from  without. 

This  Self  (the  verse  continues)  has  four  portions  (pada:  foot, 
part,  quarter— "like  the  four  feet  of  a  cow,"  states  the  commen- 
tary of  Sarikara  to  this  verse).  We  are  about  to  embark  on  a  re- 
view of  the  relationship  of  the  lour  states  of  the  microcosm  to 
those  of  the  macrocosm. 

5.  The  first  portion  is  Vaisvanara,  "The  Common-to-all-men." 
Its  field  is  the  waking  stale.  Its  consciousness  is  outward-turned 
(through  the  gates  of  the  senses).  It  is  seven  limbed  and  nineteen 
mouthed.  It  enjoys  (bhuj,  "eats,  or  lives  on")  gross  matter  (sthula). 

This  is  the  Self  in  the  waking  state,  the  phenomenal  individ- 
ual moving  and  living  in  the  phenomenal  world.  The  reference 
of  the  number  seven,  however,  is  obscure.  Sarikara,  in  his  com- 
mentary, seeks  to  interpret  it  on  the  basis  of  Chandogya  Upanisad 
5.  12.  2.,  where  the  limbs  of  the  universal  Atman  arc  described 
as  1.  the  head  (heaven),  2.  the  eye  (the  sun),  3.  breath  (the  wind), 
4.  the  torso  (space),  5.  the  kidneys  (water)  and  6.  the  feet  (the 
earth).  In  the  same  verse  the  sacrificial  area  is  likened  to  the  breast 
of  the  universal  Atman,  the  sacrificial  grass  to  his  hair,  and  the 
three  fires  of  the  Agnihotra  sacrifice  to  his  heart,  mind,and  mouth. 
Sankara,  therefore,  to  complete  his  catalogue  of  seven,  selects  the 
last  of  these  enumerated  fires,  and  writes:  7.  the  mouth  (the 
Ahavamya  fire).  One  feels  that  the  explanation  is  a  bit  contrived, 
yet  it  vividly  renders  the  basic  idea— which  is  that  Vaisvanara 
is  manifest  equally  in  the  physical  universe  and  in  the  human 

The  nineteen  mouths  mentioned  in  the  text  are  identified  by 
Sankara  as  the  five  faculties  of  sense  (jnanendrtya),  the  five  facul- 
ties of  action  (karmendriya),  the  five  vital  airs  (praria),  and  the 
four  constituents  of  the  inner  organ;  i.e.,  manas  (the  mind), 


buddhi  (the  determinative  faculty),  ahankdra  (egoity),  and  cilia 
(the  "mind-stuff,"  ol  which  all  the  other  eighteen  mouths  are 
but  the  various  agents).  Citta  is  that  "mind-stuff"  which  it  is  the 
function  of  Yoga  10  bring  to  rest.4" 

4.  The  second  portion  [of  the  Self)  is  Taijasa,  "The  Shining 
One."  Its  field  is  the  dream  state.  Its  consciousness  is  hiward  is  seven  limbed  and  nineteen  mouthed.  It  enjoys  subtle 
objects  (pravivikta:  "the  choice;  the  exquisite;  that  which  is  set 

This  is  the  Self  when  it  is  dreaming,  beholding  the  luminous, 
subtle,  magically  fluid,  and  strangely  enthralling  objects  of  the 
world  behind  the  [ids  of  the  eyes.  Taijasa  feeds  on  the  stored-up 
dream  memories,  just  as  Vaisvanara  on  the  gross  objects  of  the 
world.  His  "limbs"  and  "mouths"  are  the  subtle  counterparts  of 
those  of  the  enjoyer  of  the  field  of  waking  consciousness. 

5.  But  where  a  sleeper  neither  desires  anything  desirable  nor 
beholds  any  dream,  that  is  deep  sleep  (susupta).  Prdjna,  "The 
Knower"  who  has  become  undivided  in  this  field  of  dreamless 
sleep,  is  the  third  portion  of  the  Self.  He  is  an  undifferentiated 
mass  (ghana:  "a  homogeneous  lump")  of  consciousness,  consist- 
ing of  bliss  and  feeding  on  bliss  (as  the  former  two  fed  on  the 
gross  and  the  subtle).  His  (only)  mouth  being  spirit  (cetomukha). 

This  verse  is  a  climax.  In  the  following  the  glory  of  Prajfia, 
"The  Knower,"  the  Lord  of  the  field  of  dreamless  sleep,  is  de- 

6.  This  is  the  Lord  of  All  (sarveSvara);  the  Omniscient  (sar- 
vajfia);  the  Indwelling  Controller  (antaryaml);  the  Source  (yoni: 
the  Generative  Womb)  of  All.  This  is  the  beginning  and  End 
of  beings.60 

But  now  comes  the  supreme  culmination  of  the  series.  The 

*°  Cf.  supra,  pp.  284-285. 

B0  Cnmpare  this  with  the  vision  of  Isvara,  the  Lord,  in  the  eleventh 
chapter  of  the  Bhagavad  Gila,  where,  having  been  addressed  by  Arjuna, 
his  devotee,  the  divine  incarnation,  Krsna,  discloses  himself  in  his  "uni- 


Reai  Self,  which  is  to  be  finally  known,  is  announced  as  that  inde- 
scribable "fourth"  portion  of  the  Self,  which  is  beyond  the  sphere 
of  the  Lord  of  the  field  of  dreamless  sleep,  i.e.,  beyond  the  Be- 
ginning and  End  of  beings. 

7.  What  is  known  as  the  fourth  portion— neither  inward-  nor 
outward-turned  consciousness,  nor  the  two  together;  not  an  un- 
differentiated mass  of  dormant  omniscience;  neither  knowing 
nor  unknowing— because  invisible,  ineffable,  intangible,  devoid 
of  characteristics,  inconceivable,  unde finable,  its  sole  essence  be- 
ing the  assurance  of  its  own  Self  (eka-atma-pratyaya-sfiram);  the 
coming  to  peaceful  rest  of  all  differentiated,  relative  existence 
(prapanca-upasamam);  utterly  quiet  (santam);  peaceful-blissful 
(slvam);  without-a-second  (advaitain):  —this  is  Atman,  the  Self, 
which  is  to  be  realized. 

The  four  portions  dissolved  into  each  other  as  the  process  of 
discernment  moved  from  one  to  the  next;  nevertheless,  all  four 
together  constitute  the  whole  of  the  "four-footed,"  "four-square," 
gradated,  sole  existence,  which  is  the  Self.  Each  quarter  is  on  an 
equal  footing,  somehow,  with  the  others  (just  as  the  Kali  Yuga, 
the  worst  of  the  four  ages  of  the  world,  is  no  less  a  part  of  the 
cycle  of  time  than  the  best,  the  holy  Krta  Yuga— shorter  in  length 
and  of  less  perfect  form,  indeed,  yet  an  equally  indispensable 
portion  of  the  cycle).  During  the  course  of  the  spiritual  adven- 
ture inward,  the  emphasis  shifts  from  the  outer  world  to  the  inner, 
and  finally  from  the  manifest  to  the  unmanifest,  and  there  is  a 
prodigious  increase  in  the  powers  gained;  nevertheless,  the  in- 
ferior, as  well  as  the  superior,  states  remain  as  constituents  of  the 
totality.  They  are,  as  Sankara  pictures  it,  "like  the  four  feet  of 
a  cow." 

The  self-transforming  change  of  emphasis  becomes  a  well- 
known  and  controllable  experience  for  the  skilled  practitioner  of 
yoga.  He  can  make  the  states  come  and  go,  their  spheres  appear 

versal  form"  as  Visnu,  the  omniscient  regent  of  the  macrocosm,  the  source, 
support,  and  end  of  all  beings. 



and  disappear,  according  to  his  will.  Which  leads  him,  as  we 
have  said,  to  a  philosophy  o£  phenomenalism.  Through  his  sov- 
ereign yogic  power  the  gross  aspect  of  reality  is,  for  him,  devalu- 
ated; for  he  can  produce  the  subtle,  fluid  forms  of  the  inward 
state  of  vision  whenever  he  likes,  fix  them  and  retain  them  as 
long  as  he  requires,  and  after  that,  again  according  to  his  wish, 
come  temporarily  back  into  touch  with  the  exterior  world.  Such 
a  virtuoso  is  not  subject  and  exposed  helplessly  to  the  waking 
state,  but  enters  into  it  only  when  and  as  he  wishes— his  real  abode 
or  homestead,  meanwhile,  being  the  "fourth,"  at  the  opposite 
end  of  the  series.  Yoga  makes  this  deep  zone  the  basis  and  bed- 
rock of  existence  for  him,  from  the  standpoint  of  which  the  other 
experiences  and  attitudes  are  completely  reinterpreted  and  re- 
evaluated. What  normally  is  the  sole  possible  waking  attitude  of 
man  becomes  merely  optional,  an  everyday  mirage  (lokaydtrd) 
into  which  the  master  of  consciousness  enters  by  a  gesture  of 
compliance  with  the  world's  course  (just  as  the  Supreme  Being  is 
represented  in  mythology  as  complying  with  the  course  of  the 
universe  by  descending,  periodically,  in  an  incarnation,  "when- 
ever there  is  a  decline  of  dharma").81 

The  five  final  verses  of  the Mandukya  Upanisad  bring  the  analy- 
sis of  the  four  portions,  feet,  or  states  of  the  Self  into  connection 
with  the  syllable  OM,  which,  as  made  known  at  the  beginning, 
is  identical  with  the  Self.  In  Sankrit  the  vowel  o  is  constitution- 
ally a  diphthong,  compounded  of  a  -\-  u;  hence  OM  can  also  be 
written  AUM.  We  read,  consequently,  in  the  text: 

8.  This  identical  Atman,  or  Self,  in  the  realm  of  sounds  is  the 
syllable  OM,  the  above-described  four  portions  of  the  Self  being 
identical  with  the  components  of  the  syllable,  and  the  compo- 
nents of  the  syllable  being  identical  with  the  four  portions  of 
the  Self.  The  components  of  the  syllable  are  A,  U,  M." 

81  Bhagavad  Gita  4.  7, 

B2As  will  immediately  appear,  the  silence  that  follows  and  surrounds 
the  syllable  is  the  fourth  component.  The  identification  of  these  three 



p.  Vaituanara,  "The  Common-lo-all-men,"  whose  field  is  the 
waking  state,  is  the  sound  A,  because  this  encompasses  all,  and 
because  it  is  the  first.58  He  who  knows  thus  (ya  evarii  veda)  en- 
compasses all  desirable  objects;  he  becomes  the  first. 

jo.  Taijasa,  "The  Shining  One,"  whose  field  is  the  dream  state, 
is  the  second  sound,  U,  because  this  is  an  extract,  and  contains 
the  qualities,  of  the  other  two."  He  who  knows  thus,  extracts 
from  the  flow  of  knowledge  and  becomes  equalized;  in  his  fam- 
ily there  will  be  born  no  one  ignorant  of  Brahman. 

ii.  Prajna,  "The  Knower,"  whose  field  is  deep  sleep,  is  the 
third  sound,  M,  because  this  is  the  measure,  and  that  into  which 
all  enters.00  He  who  knows  thus,  can  measure  all  and  partakes 
of  all. 

12.  The  Fourth  is  soundless:  unutterable,  a  quieting  down  of 
all  the  differentiated  manifestations,  blissful-peaceful,  nondual. 
Thus  OM  is  Atman,  verily.  He  who  knows  thus  merges  his  self 
in  the  Self— yea,  he  who  knows  thus. 

A  the  waking  state,  U  the  dream,  M  deep  sleep,  and  the 
SILENCE,  Turiya,  "The  Fourth";  all  four  together  comprise 
the  totality  of  this  manifestation  of  At  man-Brahman  as  a  syllable. 
Just  as  the  sound  OM  manifests  itself,  grows,  becomes  trans- 
letters  and  the  silence  with  the  four  states  or  portions  of  the  Self  is  to 
be  taken  with  the  utmost  literal  seriousness;  for  all  things— sound  and 
silence  as  well  as  states  of  human  consciousness— are  Brahman-Atman. 

BB  A  is  regarded  as  the  primal  sound,  which  is  common  to  all  the  others. 
It  is  produced  at  the  back  of  the  open  mouth,  and  is  therefore  said  to 
include,  and  to  be  included  in,  every  other  sound  produced  by  the 
human  vocal  organs.  A  is  the  first  letter  of  the  Sanskrit  alphabet. 

ft*  The  open  mouth  of  A  moves  toward  the  closure  of  M.  Between  is  U, 
formed  of  the  openness  of  A  but  shaped  by  the  closing  lips.  So  dream  is 
compounded  of  the  consciousness  of  waking  life  shaped  by  the  uncon- 
sciousness of  sleep. 

86  It  is  from  the  position  of  the  closed  mouth  that  all  begins;  the  mouth 
is  opened  to  produce  A.  and  in  another  way  to  produce  U.  The  closed 
mouth  is  thus  the  fundament  from  which  all  sound  of  speech  takes  its 
measure,  as  well  as  the  end  back  to  which  it  devolves. 



formed  in  its  vocal  quality,  and  finally  subsides  into  the  silence 
that  follows  (and  which  must  be  regarded  as  forming  part  of  its 
sound  in  a  latent,  meaningful  state  of  repose),  so  likewise  the 
four  "states,"  or  components,  of  being.  They  are  transformations 
ot  the  one  existence  which,  taken  together,  constitute  the  totality 
of  its  modes,  whether  regarded  from  the  microcosmic  or  from  the 
macrocosmic  point  of  view.  The  A  and  U  are  as  essential  to  the 
sound  as  M,  or  as  the  SILENCE  against  which  the  sound  appears. 
Moreover,  it  would  be  a  mistake  to  say  that  A  U  M  did  not  exist 
while  the  SILENCE  reigned;  for  it  would  be  still  potential.  The 
actual  manifestation  of  the  syllable,  on  the  other  hand,  is  fleeting 
and  evanescent,  whereas  the  SILENCE  abides.  The  SILENCE, 
indeed,  is  present  elsewhere  during  a  local  pronunciation  of 
AUM— that  is  to  say  (by  analogy),  transccndentally  during  the 
creation,  manifestation,  and  dissolution  of  a  universe. 

Bhagavad  Gtti 

It  was  in  the  great  paradoxes  of  the  epoch-making  Bhagavad 
Gila  m  that  the  non-Brahmanical,  pre-Aryan  thought  of  aborigi- 
nal India  became  fruitfully  combined  and  harmonized  with  the 
Vedic  ideas  of  the  Aryan  invaders.  In  the  eighteen  brief  chapters 
was  displayed  a  kaleidoscopic  interworking  of  the  two  traditions 
that  for  some  ten  centuries  had  been  contending  for  the  control 
and  mastery  of  the  Indian  mind. 

M  The  full  title  is  Srimad-bhagavad-gitd-upanisadas,  '"I  he  teachings  given 
in  the  song  of  the  Sublime  Exalted  One." 



As  we  have  seen,  the  non-Aryan  systems  (Jainism,  Gosala's 
teaching,  Sa.iik.hya,  and  Yoga)  were  characterized  by  a  resolutely 
logical,  theoretical  dichotomy,  which  insisted  on  a  strict  distinc- 
tion between  two  spheres,  that  of  the  life-monad  (fiva,  purusa) 
and  that  of  matter  (  a-jlva,  prakrti),  the  pure  and  crystal-like, 
immaterial  essence  of  the  pristine  individual  and  the  polluting, 
darkening  principle  of  the  material  world.  The  process  of  life  was 
read  as  an  effect  of  the  interpenetration  of  these  polar  principles 
—an  everlasting  blending  of  two  antagonistic  forces,  bringing  to 
pass  a  perpetual  procreating  and  disintegrating  of  compound,  un- 
substantial forms.  The  conjunction  was  compared  to  the  min- 
gling of  fire  with  iron  in  a  red-hot  iron  ball;  it  was  a  result  of 
proximity  and  association,  not  proper  to  either  principle  per  se. 
And  the  two  could  be  understood  in  their  distinct,  mutually  con- 
trary, intrinsic  natures  only  when  separated  and  allowed  to  return 
to  their  simple,  primary  slates— the  corollary  of  all  this  in  prac- 
tice being  a  doctrine  of  asceticism  (or  rather,  a  number  of  vary- 
ing doctrines  of  asceticism)  aiming  at  the  separation  of  the  two 
incompatible  principles.  The  process  of  life  was  to  be  halted. 
Purification,  sterilization,  was  to  be  the  great  ideal  of  human  vir- 
tue; and  the  goal,  the  attainment  of  absolute  motionlcssness  in 
crystal  purity— not  the  dynamism  of  the  incessant  processional  of 
life.  For  the  processes  of  nature  (generation,  digestion,  assimila- 
tion, elimination,  the  dissolution  of  the  dead  body  as  it  begets 
swarming  tribes  of  worms  and  insects,  metabolism,  gestation)  are 
all  unclean.  The  will  is  to  puige  the  whole  thing  away.  Whether 
in  the  microcosmic  alchemical  retort  of  the  individual,  or  in 
the  macrocosm  of  the  universal  laboratory,  the  unclean  proress 
of  elements  forever  uniting,  forever  sundering,  is  equally  deplor- 
able, a  sort  of  general  orgy  of  indecencies  from  which  the  self- 
recollecting  spirit  can  only  resign. 

Contrast  with  this  the  vigorous,  tumultuous,  and  joyous  life- 
affirmative  of  the  Vedic  Hymn  of  Food."  The  new  thing  that  the 

"  Supra,  pp.  345-347- 



Brahmans  brought  to  India  was  a  jubilant,  monistic  emphasis 
on  the  sanctity  of  life:  a  powerful  and  persistent  assertion  that 
the  One  Thing  is  always  present  as  two.  "I  am  both,"  asserts  the 
Lord  of  Food;  "I  am  the  two:  the  life-force  and  the  life-material 
—the  two  at  once."  The  jejune  disjunction  of  the  world  into 
matter  and  spirit  derives  from  an  abstraction  of  the  intellect  and 
should  not  be  projected  back  upon  reality;  for  it  is  of  the  nature 
of  the  mind  to  establish  differences,  to  make  definitions  and  dis- 
criminate. To  declare,  "There  ai  e  distinctions,"  is  only  to  state 
that  there  is  an  apprehending  intellect  at  work.  Perceived  pairs- 
of-oppositcs  reflect  the  nature  not  of  things  but  of  the  perceiving 
mind.  Hence  thought,  the  intellect  itselt,  must  be  transcended  if 
true  reality  is  to  be  attained.  Logic  is  a  help  for  preliminary 
clarification,  but  an  impetfeet,  inadequate  instrument  for  the 
final  insight;  its  orderly  notions,  oppositions,  and  relationships 
must  be  overcome  if  the  searching  mind  is  to  attain  to  any  direct 
conception  or  realization  of  the  transcendent  truth.  The  One 
Thing  that  is  the  first,  last,  and  only  reality  (this  is  the  basic 
Brahman  thesis)  comprises  all  the  pairs-oi-opposites  (dvaridva) 
that  proceed  from  it,  whether  physically,  in  the  course  of  life's 
evolution,  or  conceptually,  as  logical  distinctions  occurring  to 
the  intellect  coincident  with  thought. 

Founded  in  this  realization  of  an  all-unifying,  transcendent 
principle,  Brahmanical  thought  of  the  period  of  the  Upanisads 
was  well  fitted  to  absorb  not  only  the  divine  personalities  of  the 
earlier  Vedic  pantheon  but  also  the  much  more  sophisticated 
philosophic  and  devotional  formulae  of  the  non-Aryan,  aborigi- 
nal tradition.  The  Bhagavad  Gila  is  the  classic  document  of  the 
first  stages  of  this  adjustment.  Its  teaching  is  styled  an  esoteric 
doctrine,  yet  it  has  become  the  most  popular,  widely  memorized 
authoritative  statement  of  the  basic  guiding  principles  of  Indian 
religious  life.  The  text,  an  episode  of  eighteen  brief  chapters  in- 
serted in  the  Mahabharata  at  the  point  of  epic  action  where  the 


two  great  armies  are  about  to  join  in  battle,08  is  by  no  means  all 
of  a  piece.  Numerous  contradictions  have  been  pointed  out  by 
the  Western  critics,  yet  to  the  Indian  mind  these  contradictions 
are  precisely  the  value.  For  they  represent  the  beginning  of  the 
great  rapprochement  and,  besides,  are  readily  resolved  by  a  real- 
ization of  the  One  in  all. 

The  ranks  of  the  warriors  of  the  two  rival  armies  of  the 
Mahabharata  had  been  drawn  up  against  each  other,  and  all  was 
prepared  for  the  opening  trumpet  blast,  when  the  leader  of  the 
Pandavas,  Arjuna,  desired  to  be  driven  by  his  charioteer  into  the 
field  between,  so  that  he  might  review,  at  a  glance,  both  his  own 
forces  and  those  of  his  enemy  cousins,  the  Kauravas.  However, 
the  moment  he  beheld,  in  both  ranks,  his  friends  and  teachers, 
sons  and  grandfathers,  nephews,  uncles,  and  brothers,  an  emotion 
of  the  greatest  pity  and  regret  assailed  him.  His  spirit  was  un- 
manned, and  he  doubted  whether  he  should  permit  the  battle  to 

At  this  critical  juncture  his  charioteer  spoke  and  gave  him 
heart.  And  the  words  uttered  under  these  heroic  circumstances, 
on  the  verge  of  the  most  tremendous  battle  of  Indian  epic  his- 
tory, are  what  have  been  termed  the  Bhagavad  Gila,  "The  Song 
of  the  Blessed  Lord";  for  the  charioteer  was  none  other  than  the 
god  Krsna,  an  Incarnation  of  the  Creator,  Preserver,  and  De- 
stroyer of  the  world.  The  revelation  was  given  by  a  friend  to  a 
friend,  the  young  god  to  his  companion,  the  prince  Arjuna.  It 
was  an  exclusive,  an  aristocratic,  doctrine;  for  the  god  Kr$na, 
this  divine  particle  of  the  holy  supramundane  essence  who  had 
descended  to  earth  for  the  salvation  of  mankind,  was  himself  a 
slayer  of  demons,  himself  an  epic  hero,  while  the  noble  youth 
to  whom  the  words  were  addressed  when  he  was  in  despair  as  to 
what  to  do  (impotent,  at  the  critical  moment  of  his  career,  to  de- 
termine what  would  be  for  him  dharma,  correct  behavior)  was 
the  fairest  flower  of  the  epic  period  of  Hindu  chivalry.  It  had 

88  Mahabharata,  book  6,  Bhlsmaparvan,  section  6. 


been  because  of  his  sympathy  fur  this  dispossessed  young  king 
that  the  beautilul,  dark  Krsna  had  become  his  adviser  in  the 
somewhat  allegorical  role  of  charioteer,  when  he  was  about  to 
enter  battle  for  the  recovery  of  his  usurped  throne  and  the  win- 
ning of  the  sovereignty  of  the  land  of  India.  Krsna  wished  not 
only  to  play  (he  pan  ol  spiritual  adxiser  to  his  friend,  but  also 
to  utilize  this  vivid  moment  to  proclaim  to  all  mankind  his  doc- 
trine of  salvation  in  the  world— which  is  known  as  the  "Yoga  of 
Selfless  Action"  (km ma-yoga)— and  all  that  it  entails  in  the  way 
of  self -surren dei  and  de\otiun  (bhakli)  to  the  Lord  who  is  iden- 
tical with  the  Self  within  all.  The  doctrine  is  "very  difficult  to 
grasp";  this  is  a  Uu  t  emphasized  again  and  again.  For  example: 
"The  innermost  pi  \m  iplc  or  man's  nature  [the  so-called  'Owner 
of  the  Organism':  drhin  saiirin]  is  unmanifest,  unthinkable,  un- 
changeable. .  .  .  One  pei son  beholds  this  Self  as  a  marvel.  An- 
other speaks  of  It  as  a  marvel.  Still  another  hears-and-learns  of 
It  as  a  marvel  [being  instructed  in  the  sacred  esoteric  tradition 
by  a  guru].  Vet,  though  having  heard  and  learned,  no  one  has 
any  real  understanding  of  what  It  is."  0B 

The  circumstances  ol  the  dialogue  are  described  in  vigorous, 
simple  terms. 

"Arjuna  said:  'Place  my  chaiiot,  O  Changeless  One,  between 
the  two  armies,  so  that  in  this  moment  of  impending  battle  I 
may  behold  those  standing  eager  for  war,  with  whom  1  have  to 
fight.  .  .  .' 

"Thus  addressed,  Krsna  drove  the  incomparable  chariot  be- 
tween the  two  armies  drawn  up  for  battle,  facing  Bhisma,  Drona, 
and  all  the  rulers  of  the  earth.  And  he  said:  'Behold,  O  son  of 
Pftha,  the  Kauravas  here  assembled!* 

"Then  Arjuna  gazed  upon  the  two  peoples:  fathers,  grand- 
fathers, teachers,  maternal  uncles,  brothers,  sons,  grandsons,  com- 
panions, fathers-in-law,  and  friends.  .  .  ."  And  he  was  overcome 

H9  Bhagavad  Gita  2.  25  and  29. 



with  horror  at  the  thought  of  the  dreadful  fratricidal  fury  that 
was  about  to  seize  them  all.  On  the  one  hand  he  was  unwilling 
to  precipitate  the  battle  that  should  annihilate  "those,"  as  he  said, 
"who  arc  my  own  people,"  while  on  the  other  he  was  bound  by 
the  code  of  chivalry  to  avenge  the  injuries  that  he  and  his  broth- 
ers had  sustained  from  their  cousins,  and  to  assist  his  brethren  in 
their  just  effort  to  recover  their  dominion.  Not  knowing  what  he 
should  do,  mind  whirling,  unable  to  distinguish  the  right  from 
ihe  wrong,  Arjuna,  in  despair,  turned  to  his  friend  and  chari- 
oteer, Krsna;  and  as  the  divine  words  of  God  poured  into  his  ears 
and  heart,  he  was  set  at  case  as  to  the  mysteries  of  right  and 

Krsna's  message  culminates  in  the  "supreme  utterance,"  which 
commences  in  Chapter  X. 

"Now  give  ear  to  my  supreme  uttctancc.  Because  thou  art  dear 
to  Me,  I  will  proclaim  it  to  thee  for  thy  good.  Neither  the  hosts 
of  the  gods  nor  the  great  seers  know  My  source.  Altogether  more 
ancient  than  they  am  I.  He  who  knows  Me  as  the  Unborn,  the 
Beginningless,  the  Great  Lord  of  the  World,  he  among  mortals, 
free  from  delusion,  is  released  from  all  his  sins.  From  Me  alone 
arise  the  manifold  states  of  mind  of  created  beings:  power  of 
judgment,  knowledge,  purity  of  spirit,  forbearance,  true  insight, 
discipline,  serenity,  pleasure  and  pain,  well-being  and  distress, 
fear  and  reliance,  compassion,  equanimity,  contentment,  self- 
control,  benevolence,  glory  and  infamy.  Likewise,  the  seven  great 
Rsis  of  old  and  the  four  Manus  01  arose  from  Me  alone,  generated 
by  My  spirit;  and  from  them  descend  these  creatures  in  the  world. 
He  who  knows  in  truth  this  manifestation  of  My  might  and  My 
creative  power  is  armed  with  unshakable  constancy.  I  am  the 
Source  of  all,  from  Me  everything  arises.  Whosoever  has  insight, 

aa  lb.  i.  21-47. 

81  flfi:  holy  sage,  inspired  poet  of  Vedic  hymns.  Manu:  the  first  man  at 
the  beginning  of  each  new  race  of  beings. 



knows  this.  And  with  this  insight  the  wise  worship  Me,  over- 
whelmed by  awe.  .  .  .a2 

"Time  (kdla)  am  I,  the  Destroyer  great  and  mighty,  appearing 
here  to  sweep  all  men  away.  Even  without  thee  [and  thine  act  of 
leadership]  none  of  these  warriors  here,  in  their  ranks  arrayed, 
shall  remain  alive.  Therefore,  do  thou  arise,  win  glory,  smite 
the  foe,  enjoy  in  prosperity  thy  lordship.  By  Me,  and  Me  alone, 
have  they  long  since  been  routed.  BE  THOU  NOUGHT  BUT 
MY  TOOL."  •" 

This  is  applied  bhakti.  The  bhakta,  the  devotee,  brings  into 
realization  in  space  and  time,  as  the  merely  apparent  cause,  what 
for  the  time-and-space-transcending  God  is  beyond  the  categories 
of  the  uneventuated  and  eventuated,  the  "not  yet"  and  the 
"already  done."  The  imperishable  Self,  the  Owner  of  the  per- 
ishable bodies,  is  the  supreme  director  of  the  harrowing  spec- 
tacle of  Time.  "  'Having-an-end'  are  called  these  bodies  of  Him, 
the  Eternal,  who  is  the  'Owner  of  Bodies'  (sarlriri),  who  is  im- 
perishable, boundless,  and  unfathomable.  .  .  .  Whoever  thinks 
Him  to  be  he  who  kills,  and  whoever  thinks  Him  to  be  he  who 
is  killed— these  two  lack  true  insight;  for  He  neither  kills  nor  is 
killed.  He  is  not  born,  nor  docs  He  die  at  any  time;  He  did  not 
become  in  the  past  nor  will  He  spring  into  existence  again  at  a 
future  moment;  He  is  unborn,  eternal,  everlasting— the  'Old 
One'  (purana);  He  is  not  killed  when  the  body  is  killed.  The 
man  who  knows  Him  to  be  indestructible,  eternal,  without  birth, 
and  immutable— how  can  he  slay;  or  whom?  Even  as  a  man  casts 
off  old  and  worn-out  clothes  and  puts  on  others  which  are  new,  so 
the  'Owner  of  the  Body'  (dekin)  casts  off  worn-out  bodies  and 
enters  into  others  which  are  new."  ■*  "As  childhood,  youth,  and 
old  age  in  this  present  body  are  to  Him  Who  Owns  the  Body 

62  lihagavad  Gild  10.  1-8. 
03/&.  1 1.  32-33. 
04  lb-  2.  18-22. 



(dehin),  so  also  is  the  attaining  of  another  body.  The  Wise  are 
not  disturbed  by  this."  "* 

The  Self  is  not  affected  when  its  mask  is  changed  from  that  of 
childhood  to  that  of  youth,  and  then  to  that  of  age.  The  individ- 
ual ego,  the  cherished  personality,  may  feel  disturbed,  and  may 
have  difficulty  adjusting  itself  to  the  changes  and  all  the  losses  of 
life-opportunity  that  the  changes  imply,  but  the  Self  is  unaf- 
fected. And  it  is  equally  unconcerned  when  the  mask  is  put 
aside  altogether  at  the  time  of  death,  and  a  new  one  assumed  at 
the  next  birth.  There  is  no  death,  no  real  change,  for  Him. 
Hence,  whether  the  sequence  be  that  of  bodies  or  of  the  ages  of 
the  body,  it  weighs  no  more  on  Him  than  do  the  solstices  of  the 
seasons  or  the  phases  of  the  moon.  There  is  no  cause  for  grief. 
"Weapons  do  not  cut  Him,  fire  does  not  burn  Him,  water  wet 
Him,  or  the  wind  dry  Him  away.  He  cannot  be  cut.  He  cannot 
be  burnt,  He  cannot  be  wet,  He  cannot  be  dried  away.  He  is 
changeless  (nilya),  all-pervading  (sarvagata),  stable  (sthanu)'" 
unshakable  (acala),"  and  permanent  (sanatana)."  " 

The  Owner  of  the  Body  is  beyond  event;  and  since  it  is  He 
who  is  the  true  essence  of  the  individual,  one  must  not  pity  the 
perishable  creatures  for  being  such  as  they  are.  "Thou  dost  feel 
pity,"  says  Krsna  to  the  confused  warrior,  "where  pity  has  no 
place.  Wise  men  feel  no  pity  either  for  what  dies  or  for  what 
lives.  There  never  was  a  time  when  I  and  thou  were  not  in 
existence,  and  all  these  princes  too.  Nor  will  the  day  ever  come, 
hereafter,  when  all  of  us  shall  cease  to  be." "'  "There  is  no  exist- 
ence for  nothingness;  there  is  no  destruction  for  that  which  is. 
Be  assured  that  the  very  tissue  of  this  universe  is  the  Imperish- 

88  J6.  2. 13. 

88  Standing  motionless,  like  a  pillar,  like  a  rock,  or  like  Siva,  the  perfect 
yogi,  in  his  meditation. 
07  Like  a  firmly  rooted  mountain. 
88  Bhagavad  Gila  jr.  »s-«4. 
88  lb.  s.  n-i». 



able;  it  lies  in  no  man's  power  to  destroy  it.  Bodies  come  to  an 
end,  but  'He  Who  Is  Clothed  in  the  Body'  (saririn)  is  eternal, 
indestructible,  and  infinite.— Fight  then,  O  Bharata!"  70 

Karma  Yoga,  the  great  ethical  principle  incorporated  in  this 
metaphysically  grounded  realism  of  the  Incarnate  Divine  Es- 
sence, requires  that  the  individual  should  continue  carrying  on 
his  usual  duties  and  activities  of  life,  but  with  a  new  attitude  of 
detachment  from  their  fruits,  i.e.,  from  the  possible  gains  or 
losses  that  they  will  entail.  The  world  and  its  way  of  actualiza- 
tion is  not  to  be  abandoned,  but  the  will  of  the  individual  is  to 
be  united  in  action  with  the  universal  ground,  not  with  the 
vicissitudes  of  the  suffering  body  and  nervous  system.  That  is 
the  teaching  of  the  Incarnate  Creator  and  Sustainer.  That  is 
the  world-balancing  crux  of  his  supreme  advice  to  man.  "The 
practice  of  worship  through  offerings  (ytijiia),  the  giving  of 
alms  (dana),  and  austerity  (tapas)  should  not  be  abandoned. 
Indeed,  these  works  should  be  performed;  for  worship,  charity, 
and  austerity  are  purifying  to  the  wise.  And  yet  even  such  self- 
less works  as  these  are  to  be  performed  with  a  resignation  of  all 
attachment  to  them  and  their  fruits; 71  that  is  My  best  and  un- 
wavering conviction."  72  "Give  thought  to  nothing  but  the  act, 
never  to  its  fruits,  and  let  not  thyself  be  seduced  by  inaction. 
For  him  who  achieves  inward  detachment,  neither  good  nor  evil 
exists  any  longer  here  below."  Ta  "Consider  pleasure  and  pain, 
wealth  and  poverty,  victory  and  defeat,  as  of  equal  worth.  Pre- 
pare then  for  the  combat.  Acting  in  this  way  thou  wilt  not  be- 
come stained  by  guilt."  14 

The  God  himself  acts— both  as  a  macrocosm,  through  the 

™lb.x.  16-18. 

71  In  this  case  the  fruits  are  the  promised  heavenly  rewards,  or  advan- 
tages to  be  enjoyed  in  a  time  and  birth  to  come. 
7S  Bhagavad  Gitd  18.  5-6. 
«/&.*.  47. 
" lb.  t.  38. 



events  of  the  world,  and  as  a  microcosm,  in  the  form  of  his  In- 
carnation. That  fact  itself  should  serve  as  a  salutary  lesson. 
"There  is  naught  in  the  Thiee  Worlds,"  declares  Krsna,  "that  I 
have  need  to  do,  nor  anything  that  I  have  not  obtained  and 
that  I  might  gain,  yet  I  participate  in  action.  It  I  did  not  do 
so  without  relaxation,  people  would  follow  my  example.  These 
worlds  would  perish  if  I  did  not  go  on  performing  works.  I 
should  cause  confusion  [for  men  would  relinquish  the  tasks  and 
activities  assigned  to  them  by  birth];  I  should  be  the  ruin  of  all 
(Iiese  beings  [for  the  gods,  the  celestial  bodies,  etc.,  would  ter- 
minate their  activities,  following  the  example  set  by  the  High- 
est], Just  as  ignorant  people  act,  being  attached  to  actions,  even 
so  should  the  wise  man  (vidvati,  the  comprehender)  also  act, 
though  unattached— with  a  view  to  the  maintenance  of  order  in 
the  world."  " 

The  unfatigued  activity  of  the  Divine  Being  controlling  the 
universe  is  a  matter  of  routine,  a  kind  of  ritual  that  does  not 
deeply  concern  Him.  In  the  same  way,  the  perfect  man  should 
fulfill  the  duties  of  his  life  in  a  spirit  of  playful  routine,  so  as 
not  to  break  the  whole  course  of  the  play  in  which  the  role 
(from  which  he  has  become  deeply  detached)  involves  him. 
"For  it  is  impossible,"  says  Krsna,  "for  any  being  endowed  with 
a  body  to  give  up  activity-without-rest;  but  he  who  relinquishes 
the  fruits  (phala:  rewards,  results)  of  his  acts  is  called  a  man  of 
true  renunciation  (tyagin)."  " 

To  suppose  that,  being  endowed  with  a  body,  one  can  avoid 
involvement  in  the  web  of  karma  is  a  vain  illusion.  Neverthe- 
less, it  is  possible  to  avoid  increased  involvement,  and  possible 
even  to  disengage  the  mind,  by  disregarding  the  consequences 
and  apparent  promises  of  one's  unavoidable  tasks  and  enter- 
prises—that is  to  say,  by  an  absolute  self-sacrifice.  One  is  to  look 
for  no  reward  in  the  fulfillment  of  one's  duties  as  a  son  or 

TB  76.  s-  22-25. 
'»/!>.  18.  11. 



father,  as  a  Brahman  or  as  a  warrior,  in  the  performance  of 
the  orthodox  rituals,  in  dispensing  charity,  or  in  whatever  else  the 
work  ol  virtue  may  chance  to  be.  "One  should  not  give  up  the 
acthily  to  which  one  is  born  (sahajaih  karma:  the  duty  in- 
cumbent on  one  through  birth,  caste,  profession),  even  though 
this  should  be  attended  by  evil;  tor  all  undertakings  are  envel- 
oped by  evil,  as  is  tire  by  smoke."  " 

The  earthly  plane  is  the  sphere  of  imperfection,  by  defini- 
tion as  it  were.  Perfection,  stainless  purity,  is  to  be  reached  only 
through  disentanglement  from  the  manifest  sphere  of  the  gunas  '• 
—a  spiritual  progiess  that  dissolves  the  individual,  the  mask  of 
the  personality  and  all  the  forms  of  action  that  pertain  to 
it,  in  the  undetiled,  undifferentiated,  anonymous,  absolutely 
changeless  realm  of  the  Self.  Meanwhile,  however,  the  duties 
and  obligations  of  the  life  into  which  one  was  born  are  those 
that  are  to  be  clung  to.  "Better  one's  own  life-task  and  duty 
(dharma),  though  worthless  and  destitute  of  qualities  (vi-guna), 
than  the  duty  of  another  well-performed.  He  who  performs  the 
activities  (karma  kurvan)  dictated  by  his  inborn  nature  [which 
are  identical  with  those  of  his  place  in  society]  incurs  no  stain."  7° 

Even  a  person  born  into  an  unclean  caste  (a  sweeper,  an  un- 
dertaker, for  example)  should  hold  to  the  inherited  career.  By 
performing  the  work  as  well  .is  possible,  in  the  ordained  way, 
he  becomes  a  perlect,  virtuous  member  of  society;  breaking 
loose  and  intruding  upon  other  people's  duties,  on  the  other 
hand,  he  would  become  guilty  of  disturbing  the  sacred  order. 
Even  the  harlot,  as  we  have  seen,*"  though  indeed  within  the 
hierarchy  of  society  she  is  far  below  the  state  of  the  virtuous 
housewife,  nevertheless,  if  she  fulfills  to  perfection  the  moral 
code  of  her  despicable  profession,  participates  in  the  trans-in- 

"lb.  18.48. 

78  For  the  gunas,  cf.  supra,  pp.  295-297. 

"Bhagavad  Gild  18.  47. 

80  Supra,  pp.  161-162. 


dividual,  supiahuman  Holy  Power  which  is  manifested  in  the 
cosmos— and  she  can  work  miracles  to  baffle  kings  and  saints."1 

Krsna,  the  divine  proclaimer  of  the  doctrine  of  the  Bhagavad 
Gila,  offers  himself  not  only  as  a  teacher  but  also  as  a  good  ex- 
ample. He  represents  the  willing  participation  of  the  Supreme 
Deity  itself  in  the  mysterious  joy  and  agony  of  the  forms  of  the 
manifested  world— these  being,  finally,  no  less  than  Its  Own  re- 
llection.  "Though  I  am  unborn,  though  my  Self  is  changeless, 
though  I  am  the  Divine  Lord  of  all  perishable  beings,  never- 
theless, residing  in  my  own  material  nature  (prahrii).  I  become 
a  transitory  being  (sambhavami)  through  the  magic  divine  power 
of  playful  illusive  transformation  which  produces  all  phe- 
nomena and  belongs  to  my  own  Self  (almamayaya).  Whenever 
there  occurs  a  relaxation  or  weakening  of  the  principle  of  duty 
and  a  rise  of  unrighteousness,  then  I  pour  Myself  forth.  For  the 
protection  of  the  just  and  the  destruction  of  the  workers  of 
evil,  for  the  confirmation  of  virtue  and  the  divine  moral  order 
of  the  universe,  I  become  a  transitory  being  among  the  perish- 
able creatures  in  every  age  of  the  world."  B2 

According  to  the  Hindu  view,  the  entrance  of  God  into  the 
strife  of  the  universe  is  not  a  unique,  astounding  entrance  of 
the  transcendental  essence  into  the  welter  of  mundane  affairs 

81  "Let  the  scriptures  be  thine  authority  in  ascertaining  what  ought  to 
be  done  and  what  should  not  be  done.  Knowing  what  is  said  in  the 
oidinance  of  the  scriptures,  thou  shouldest  act  here"  (Bhagavad  Gtta  16. 
24).  But  then,  on  the  other  hand:  "For  the  Brahman  who  has  gained  the 
highest  knowledge  (vijanan),  all  the  Vedas  are  of  as  much  use  as  a 
reservoir  when  there  is  a  flood  everywhere"  (ib.  2.  46).  The  scriptural 
traditions  contain  the  highest  truth,  but  the  experience  of  that  truth 
renders  them  superfluous.  He  who  Knows  has  entered  the  sphere  of 
transcendental  reality,  and  no  longer  stands  in  need  of  guidance.  Before 
the  moment  of  realization,  the  scriptures  and  the  sphere  of  social  duty 
serve  as  the  necessary  guides;  after  realization,  they  are  affirmed  volun- 
tarily in  a  spirit  of  sublime  good  will, 

« Ib.  4.  6-8. 



(as  in  Christianity,  where  the  Incarnation  is  regarded  as  a  singu- 
lar and  supreme  sacrifice,  never  to  be  repeated),  but  a  rhythmi- 
cal eu'iit,  conlorming  to  the  beat  of  the  world  ages.  The  savior 
descends  as  a  counteiweight  to  the  forces  of  evil  during  the 
course  of  every  cyclic  decline  ol  mundane  affairs,  and  his  work 
is  accomplished  in  a  spirit  of  imperturbable  indifference.  The 
periodic  incarnation  ol  the  Holy  Power  is  a  sort  of  solemn  leit- 
motiv hi  the  interminable  opeia  of  the  cosmic  process,  re- 
sounding from  time  to  time  like  a  majestic  flourish  of  celestial 
trumpets,  to  silence  the  disharmonies  and  to  state  again  the  tri- 
umphant themes  of  the  moial  older.  These  should  ptcdominate 
over,  but  not  eradicate  entnely.  the  numerous  melodies  and 
dissonant  tones  of  the  complex  paitition.  The  savior,  the  di- 
vine hero  (the  super-Lohcngiin,  Paisifal,  or  Siegfried),  having 
set  things  aright  by  subduing  the  demon  forces— both  in  their 
cosmic  aspect  and  in  their  human  gaib  of  wicked  tyrants  and 
evil  men— withdiaws  from  the  phenomena!  sphere  as  calmly, 
solemnly,  and  willingly  as  he  descended.  He  never  becomes  the 
seeming  temporary  victim  of  the  demon  powers  (as  did  Christ 
nailed  to  the  Cross)  but  is  triumphant  in  his  passage,  from  be- 
ginning to  end.  The  Godhead,  in  its  very  aloofness,  does  not  in 
the  least  mind  assuming  temporarily  an  active  role  on  the  phe- 
nomenal plane  of  ever-active  Nature. 

The  descent  is  represented  in  Indian  mythology  as  the  send- 
ing forth  of  a  minute  particle  (ariita)  of  the  infinite  supramun- 
dane  essence  of  the  Godhead— that  essence  itself  suffering 
thereby  no  diminution;  for  the  putting  forth  of  a  savior,  the 
putting  forth  even  of  the  mirage  of  the  universe,  no  more 
diminishes  the  plenitude  of  the  transcendent  and  finally  un- 
manifested  Brahman  than  the  putting  forth  of  a  dream  dimin- 
ishes the  substance  of  our  own  Unconscious.  In  fact,  it  may  be 
said  (and  now  that  our  Western  psychology  has  begun  to  search 
these  matters,  this  is  becoming  increasingly  clear  to  us)  that  the 
Hindu  view  and  symbolism  of  the  macrocosmic  universal  maya 


is  based  on  millenniums  of  introspection,  as  a  result  of  which 
experience  the  creative  processes  of  the  human  psyche  have 
been  accepted  as  man's  best  clues  to  the  powers,  activities,  and 
attitudes  of  the  world-creative  supramundane  Being.  In  the 
process  of  evolving  a  dream  world  of  dream  scenery  and  dream 
people— supplying  also  a  heroic  dream  double  of  our  own  ego, 
to  endure  and  enjoy  all  sorts  of  strange  adventures— we  do  not 
suffer  the  least  diminution,  but  on  the  contrary  realize  an  ex- 
pansion of  our  personal  substance.  Unseen  forces  manifest  them- 
selves in  all  these  images  and  by  so  doing  enjoy  themselves, 
realize  themselves.  It  is  likewise  with  God,  when  he  pours  forth 
his  creative  maya-force.  Nor  is  our  psychic  substance  diminished 
by  the  sending  forth  of  the  sense  forces  through  the  gates  of  the 
sense  organs  to  grasp  the  sense  objects,  swallow  them,  and  pre- 
sent them  to  the  mind;  nor  again  is  the  mind  diminished  when 
it  shapes  itself  to  the  patterns  thus  ofEcrcd  by  the  sense  organs, 
copying  them  exactly  in  its  own  subtle  substance— which  is  clay- 
like,  soft  and  malleable.88  Such  activities,  whether  in  dream  or 
in  waking,  arc  expansive,  self-delighting  exercises  of  man's  vital 
essence,  which  is  ready  for  and  easily  capable  of  the  facile  self- 
transformations.  Man's  work  therein  is  a  microcosmic  counter- 
part of  the  creative  principle  of  the  univeise.  God's  maya 
shapes  the  universe  by  taking  shape  itself,  playing  through  all 
the  transitory  figures  and  bewildering  events,  and  therein  it  is 
not  the  least  diminished,  but  on  the  contrary  only  magnified 
and  expanded. 

The  field  of  the  micromacrocosmic  manifestation  was  char- 
acterized in  the  Sankhya  in  terms  of  an  unceasing  interplay  of 
the  three  constituents  or  qualities  of  prakrti,  the  so-called 
gunas.84  In  the  Bhagavad  Glta,  this  idea  is  taken  over  but  com- 
pletely assimilated  into  the  Vedic  Brahmanical  conception  of 
the  one  and  only  Self.  "Whatever  states  there  mav  be  of  the 

«»  Cf.  supra,  pp.  284-285  and  288-289. 
«  Supra,  pp.  295-297. 



qualities  of  clarity  (sdttvika),  passion  and  violence  (rdjasa),  and 
darkness-inertia  {tamasa),  know  verily  that  these  proceed  from 
Me;  yet  I  am  not  in  them— they  are  in  Me.  This  whole  universe 
of  living  beings  is  deluded  by  these  states  compounded  of  the 
three  qualities;  hence  they  do  not  know  Me,  Who  am  beyond 
them  and  immutable.  For  this  divine  illusion  (mayo)  of  mine, 
which  is  constituted  of  [and  operates  through]  the  gunas,  is 
exceedingly  difficult  to  traverse.  Those  who  devote  themselves 
exclusively  to  Mc,  however,  traverse  it."  RS 

The  broad  river  of  ignorance  and  passion  is  a  dangerous  tor- 
rent, yet  the  savior,  the  divine  ferryman,  can  bring  his  devotees 
safely  to  the  other  shore.  This  is  an  image  held  in  common  by 
all  Indian  traditions.  The  Jaina  saviors  an' termed  Tlrtharikaras, 
"Crossing-Makeis."  The  Buddha  traverses  a  river  by  walking 
on  its  waves,  and  his  Wisdom  is  known  as  the  "Knowledge  that 
has  Gone  to  the  Other  Shore"  {jnajna-param-ila).  In  the  same 
spirit,  the  popular  Mahay  ana  savior  Avalokitesvara  (Chinese: 
K  wan-)  in;  Japanese:  Kwannon)  is  represented  as  a  winged  steed, 
named  "Cloud"  (valahaka),  who  carries  to  the  far-off  bank  of 
enlightened  frecdom-in-extinction  all  who  wish  to  go. 

An  amusing  allegorical  talc,  in  the  Buddhist  sutra  known  as 
the  Karandavyuha™  represents  Cloud  as  manifesting  himself 
to  a  company  of  shipwrecked  merchants  who  had  set  sail  for 
the  Jewel  Isle.  These  had  fallen  in  with  certain  alluring  women 
on  another  enchanted  island,  who  had  seemed  to  receive  them 
hospitably  and  freely  allowed  them  to  make  love,  but  finally 
proved  to  be  man-eating  monsters  only  waiting  to  devour  them. 

«3  Ilhagavad  Gila  7.  12-14. 

afl  The  full  title  of  tins  important  Mahayana  Buddhist  sutra  is  Avaloki- 
tesvaraguqakarandavyuha,  "The  Complete  Description  of  the  Basket  of 
the  Characteristics  of  Avalokitesvara."  It  appears  in  two  versions,  an  older 
in  prose  and  a  later  in  verse.  See  M.  Winternitz,  Geschichte  der  indischen 
Litteratur,  Vol.  II.  pp.  238-2-10,  and  L.  de  la  Vallce  Poussin,  "Avalokitesvara," 
in  Hastings,  Encylopaedia  of  Religion  and  Ethics,  Vol.  II,  pp.  259-260. 


The  seductresses  had  consumed  many  merchants  before,  who, 
like  those  of  the  present  party,  had  been  washed  onto  their 
beaches.  At  once  alluring  and  devouring,  they  represent  in  the 
Buddhist  allegory  the  enticing,  destructive  character  of  the 
sensual  world.  But  over  the  island  of  these  seductresses,  the  isle 
of  the  life  of  man's  involvement  in  the  world,  the  figure  of 
"Cloud"  (valahaha),  the  savior,  is  wont  to  appear,  from  time  to 
time,  soaring  through  the  sky.  And  he  calls  out:  Ko  paraga: 
"Who  is  going  to  the  other  shore?"  which  is  a  familiar  cry  in 
India;  for  it  is  the  cry  of  the  ferryman  when  his  boat  puts  in. 
The  ferryman  shouts  it  loudly,  so  that  any  travelers  tarrying 
in  the  village  may  know  that  they  must  hurry;  and  the  voice  of 
Cloud  rings  loudly  too.  When  the  merchants  hear  it,  those  who 
can  bring  themselves  to  forsake  the  perilous  pleasures  of  the 
island  immediately  mount  the  winged  steed,  and  they  are  trans- 
ported to  the  "other  shore"  of  peace.  But  all  who  remain  meet 
in  time  a  terrible  death.  Moreover  those,  once  mounted  on  the 
gigantic  flying  savior,  who  turn  to  look  back  for  a  last,  fond 
view,  inadvertently  fall  to  a  sorry  death  in  the  pitiless  sea  below. 
The  inhabitant  of  the  perishable  body— the  indestructible 
life-monad  (purusa),  which  according  to  the  Sankhya  doctrine 
was  to  be  regarded  as  the  core  and  life-seed  of  each  living  indi- 
vidual—according to  the  composite  system  of  the  Bhagavad  Glta 
is  but  a  particle  of  the  one  supreme  Divine  Being,  with  which 
it  is  in  essence  identical.  Thus,  with  one  bold  stroke,  the  tran- 
scendental monism  of  the  Vedic  Brahman  doctrine  of  the  Self 
is  reconciled  with  the  pluralistic  life-monad  doctrine  of  the 
dualistic,  atheistic  Sankhya;  and  so  the  two  teachings  now  are 
understood  in  India  as  descriptions  from  two  points  of  view  of 
the  same  reality.  The  nondual  Atmavada  presents  the  higher 
truth,  whereas  the  Sankhya  is  an  empirical  analysis  of  the  logical 
principles  of  the  lower,  rational  sphere  of  the  pairs-of-opposites 
(dvandva).  In  the  latter,  antagonistic  principles  are  in  force,  and 
these  constitute  the  basis,  or  termini,  of  all  normal  human  ex- 


perience  and  rational  thought.  Nevertheless,  it  is  a  sign  of  non- 
knowing  to  suppose  that  because  the  dualistic  argument  is  logi- 
cal and  accords  with  the  facts  of  life,  it  is  therefore  consonant 
with  the  final  truth.  Dualism  belongs  to  the  sphere  of  manifesta- 
tion, the  sphere  of  bewildering  differentiation  through  the  in- 
teraction of  the  gunas,  and  is  but  a  part  of  the  great  cosmic  play 
of  maya. 

The  sole  Well  of  Truth,  speaking  as  Krsna,  declares:  "A  part 
of  My  very  Self,  an  eternal  one,  becomes  a  life-monad  (jiva- 
bhutn)  in  the  realm  of  the  life-monads  {jlva-loka:  i.e.,  in  the 
manifested  sphere  of  creation,  which  is  teeming  with  life- 
monads).  This  draws  to  itself  mind  and  the  five  sense  forces, 
which  are  rooted,  and  which  abide,  in  the  matter  of  the  uni- 
verse. When  this  Divine  Lord  (Jsvara) S7  thus  obtains  a  body, 
and  when  again  he  steps  out  of  it  and  departs,  he  carries  these 
six  forces  or  functions  along  with  him  from  their  abode  or  re- 
ceptacle [the  heart],  and  goes  his  way;  just  as  the  wind  carries 
scents  along  with  it  from  their  abode.  Ruling  over  the  car,  the 
eye,  touch,  taste,  and  the  sense  of  smell,  as  well  as  the  mind,  he 
experiences  the  objects  of  sense.  People  deluded  by  ignorance 
fail  to  behold  Him  whether  He  steps  out  of  the  body  or  remains 
within  it  united  with  the  gunas  and  experiencing  the  objects  of 
sense;  those  do  behold  Him,  however,  who  possess  the  eye  of 
wisdom."  88 

"The  Lord  (ih/ara)  88  dwells  in  the  region  of  the  heart  of  all 
perishable  creatures  and  causes  all  beings  to  revolve  (bkra- 
mayan)  by  His  divine  deluding  power  (maya)  as  if  they  were 
mounted  on  a  machine  (yantrarudha:  e.g.  on  a  wheel  provided 

87  The  life-monad  is  thus  called,  for  it  is  a  spark  from  the  divine  pure 
light  beyond,  thiara  means  "the  potent,  all-powerful,  sovereign  one"; 
fundamentally,  the  life-monad  partakes  of  the  omnipotence  of  the  Divine 

68  Bhagavad  Gita  15.  7-10. 

wHere  the  universal  aspect  receives  emphasis. 



wilh  buckets  for  the  irrigation  of  a  rice-field)."  90  "This  Owner 
of  the  ttody,  inhabiting  the  bodies  of  all,  is  eternally  indestructi- 
ble: therefore  thou  shouldest  not  grieve  for  any  creature."  91 

As  stated,  the  special  doctrine  of  the  Bhagavad  Gita  is  Karma 
Yoga,  the  selfless  performance  of  the  earthly  task  to  be  done; 
but  this  is  not  the  only  road  to  the  freedom  and  sovereignty  ol 
the  divine  Self.  Krsna,  the  warrior-incarnation  of  the  Supreme 
Being,  recognizes  many  ways,  corresponding  to  the  various  pro- 
pensities and  capacities  of  the  differing  human  types.  "Some," 
declares  the  God,  "by  concentration,  bent  on  inner  visualiza- 
tions, behold,  through  their  self,  in  their  self,  the  Self  Divine; 9- 
o titers  [behold  or  realize  It]  through  the  yoga-technique  related 
to  ihe  Sarikhya  system  of  F.numeralive  Knowledge;  u:i  and  still 
others  through  the  yoga  of  selfless  action."1  Others  again,  how- 
ever, not  knowing  [these  esoteric  ways  of  introvert  self-discipline 
and  transformation],  worship  Me  as  they  have  been  taught  to 
in  terms  of  the  orthodox  oral  tradition;  yet  even  these  cross  be- 
yond death,  though  devoted  exclusively  to  the  revelation  as 
communicated  in  the  Vedas."  os 

The  ancient  days  of  the  Vcdic,  sacrificial,  external  routines 
had  long  passed  at  the  time  of  the  proclamation  of  the  Bha- 
gavad Gita.  The  ceremonious  priestly  style  of  worshiping  divine 
beings  was  no  longer  dominant.  Nevertheless  the  value  of  such 
exercises  for  the  reaching  of  the  goal  could  still  be  acknowl- 
edged as  a  minor  way.  It  long  remained  sanctified  by  tradition, 
but  was  rather  cumbersome  and  old-fashioned.  People  not  up 
to  date  in  their  philosophical  ideas— the  country  cousins,  the 
pagani— continued  to  practice  these  rather  quaint  routines,  and 

«•/&.  18.  61. 

« lb.  2.  30. 

93  This  is  the  way  of  Dhyana,  "contemplation." 

93  Patanjali's  Yoga;  cf.  supra,  pp.  S84SF. 

•*  The  specific  way  of  the  Bhagavad  Gita. 

<">  Bhagavad  Gita  13.  84-85. 



of  course  experienced  the  usual,  long-tested  good  effects;  never- 
theless the  real  adventurers  and  heroes  of  the  supreme  enter- 
prise of  the  human  spirit  would  follow  the  direct,  much  more 
intense,  rapid  and  dependable,  interior,  psychological  way  of 
the  new  esoteric  dispensation. 

The  Supreme  Being,  according  to  the  Hindu  view,  is  not 
avid  to  draw  every  human  creature  into  his  supramundane 
sphere  immediately,  through  enlightenment,  nor  even  to  broad- 
cast to  everyone  identical  and  correct  notions  concerning  the 
nature  and  function  of  his  divinity.  He  is  not  a  jealous  God. 
On  the  contrary,  he  permits  and  takes  benign  delight  in  all  the 
differing  illusions  that  beset  the  beclouded  mind  of  Homo 
sapiens.  He  welcomes  and  comprehends  every  kind  of  faith  and 
creed.  Though  he  is  himself  perfect  lo\e,  and  inclined  to  all 
of  his  devotees,  no  matter  what  their  plane  of  understanding, 
he  is  also,  and  at  the  same  time,  supremely  indifferent,  abso- 
lutely unconcerned;  for  he  is  himself  possessed  of  no  ego.  He  is 
not  of  the  wrathful  nature  of  the  Yahwch  of  the  Old  Testament. 
He  makes  no  totalitarian  claim,  like  the  Allah  of  Mohammed's 
coinage.  Nor  does  he  demand  that  sinful  mankind  should  be 
reconciled  to  him  through  such  an  extreme  payment  as  the 
supreme  sacrifice  of  the  Redeemer— the  God's  own  son,  his  alter 
ego,  Second  Person  of  the  Blessed  Trinity,  who,  becoming  in- 
carnate as  the  sole  adequate  victim,  the  scapegoat  branded  as  a 
criminal,  the  Lamb  that  takes  upon  itself  the  sins  of  the  world, 
relieves  unclean  mankind  of  its  merited  death  by  shedding  his 
own  precious  blood,  hanging  on  the  cross  as  history's  most  con- 
spicuous victim  of  judicial  murder. 

"Whatsoever  devotee  seeks  to  worship  whatsoever  divine 
form  (rupa)  with  fervent  faith,  I,  verily,  make  that  faith  of 
his  unwavering.  He,  united  to  that  form  by  that  faith,  keeps  it 
worshipfully  in  mind  and  thereby  gains  his  desires— which,  in 
reality,  are  satisfied  by  Me  alone.  Finite,  however,  is  the  fruit 


of  those  of  little  understanding:  the  worshipeis  of  the  gods  go 
to  the  gods,  but  My  devotees  come  to  Me."  "" 

Definite  ideas,  circumscribed  notions  and  forms,  the  various 
personalities  of  the  numerous  pantheon  of  divinities,  are  all  re- 
garded as  so  many  aspects,  or  reflections,  of  the  shades  of  man's 
not-knowing-better.  They  all  convey  some  truth—approximately 
and  with  varying  shades  of  imperfection;  yet  they  are  them- 
selves parts  and  effects  of  the  cosmic  play  of  maya,  representing 
its  operation  in  the  sphere  ot  the  intellectual  and  emotional  or- 
gans. They  share  in  the  qualities  of  the  gunas.  l;or  example, 
mankind's  purer,  more  spiritual  conceptions  of  the  divinities 
originate  where  there  is  a  piedominance  of  sattva  guna  (clarity, 
goodness,  purity);  wrathful,  irascible,  emotional  views  of  God 
(where  the  deity  displays  an  excess  of  activity)  spring  from  the 
impulses  of  rajas  guna;  while  semidivine  beings  of  malevolent 
character— the  gods  of  death,  disease,  and  destruction  -arc  born 
of  the  darkness  of  tamas  guna.  The  aspects  and  personifications 
of  the  divine  essence  will  seem  to  vary  according  to  the  preva- 
lence of  one  or  another  of  the  gunas  in  the  nature  of  the  dev- 
otee; and  thus  it  is  that  the  deities  of  the  various  races,  culture 
periods,  and  levels  of  society  conspicuously  differ  from  each 
other.  The  Supreme  Being  itself,  in  its  absolute  aloofness  from 
the  interplay  of  the  gunas— though  itself  their  source— is  far 
from  stooping  to  interfere  with  the  particular  propensities  of 
the  differing  human  types,  but  rather  encourages  and  fortifies 
every  pious  inclination,  of  whatsoever  kind,  since  of  every  hu- 
man being  it  is  itself  the  inner  force. 

"Whatsoever  devotee  seeks  to  worship  whatsoever  divine 
form  (rupa)  with  fervent  faith.  .  .  ."  The  "form"  (rupa)  is 
the  phenomenal  manifestation  of  the  transcendent  divine 
essence  in  the  garb  of  a  divine  personality,  a  godly  individ- 
uality, and  this  is  worshipful  because  accommodated  exactly 
to  the  worshiping  mind  and  heart.  It  may  be  a  divinity  of  the 
**lb.  7.  si-sg. 



most  ancient  orthodoxy  (an  Agni,  Indra,  Varuna),  of  the  later 
Hindu  piety  (Siva,  Visnu,  Kali),  or  of  one  of  the  still  later,  in- 
trusive, missioni/.ivig  systems  (Allah  and  Christ).  Casting  the 
spell  of  delusion  upon  every  creature,  displaying  through  the 
acts  of  all  his  universal  maya,  the  Supreme  Being  is  ever  ready 
to  allow  each  man  to  go  along  his  own  particular  way  of  ig- 
norance, more  or  less  bedimmed,  which  he  and  his  circle  take 
for  knowledge  and  wisdom,  ft  is  all  perfectly  all  right  so  far  as 
the  Divine  Being  is  concerned  if  the  fish  in  the  deep  sea  cling 
to  their  own  two  or  three  ideas  about  the  world  and  life,  if  the 
biids  in  the  lofty  air  cherish  different  ones,  and  if  the  denizens 
of  the  forests  and  of  the  cities  of  mankind  have  patterns  of  their 
own.  The  magnificent  Tenth  Chapter  of  the  li/iagavad  Gild 
tells  that  the  Divine  Being  Himself  exists  in  all.  "Whatsoever 
is  the  seed  (bija)  of  all  creatures,  that  am  J.  There  is  no  creature, 
whether  moving  or  unmoving,  that  can  exist  without  Me.  I  am 
the  gambling  of  the  fraudulent,  I  am  the  power  of  the  power- 
ful. I  am  victory;  1  am  effort.  I  am  the  purity  of  the  pure."  ur 
Each  is  permitted  and  even  encouraged  to  perpetrate  his  own 
particular  delusion  as  long  as  he  can  go  on  believing  it  to  be 
true.  Once  he  realizes,  however,  that  he  is  only  trudging  on  a 
treadmill,  keeping  the  world-as-he-sees-it  in  motion  through  his 
own  activity,  having  to  go  on  simply  because  he  insists  on  going 
on  yet  remaining  ever  in  the  same  place— just  as  he  would  re- 
main if  he  were  doing  nothing  at  all— then  the  spell  is  broken; 
the  desire,  the  need,  for  freedom  comes;  and  the  Divine  Being 
is  equally  willing  now  to  open  the  hidden  way  to  the  sphere 
beyond  the  round. 

"The  Blessed  Jjord  declared: 

"  'Threefold  is  the  vehement  faith  or  desire  (iraddha)  "•  of 
the  dwellers  in  bodies,  according  to  their  various  natures: 
sattvic,  rajasic,  or  tamasic.  Hear  thou  the  exposition  of  their 

"lb.  10.  39,  36. 

M  Sraddha  means  both  "faith"  and  "desire."  Cf.  supra,  p.  48. 



kinds.  The  sraddha  of  each  is  in  accordance  with  his  natural 
disposition,  O  Bharata;  indeed  the  man  consists  of  his  sraddha, 
he  is  whatever  his  sraddha  is.  Men  in  whom  serene  clarity  or 
goodness  (sattva)  prevails,  worship  gods;  men  in  whom  violent 
activity  and  desire  (rajas)  prevail,  worship  yaksas  and  raksasas; 80 
men  in  whom  darkness  and  inertia  (tamos)  prevail  serve  evil 
spirits,  ghosts,  and  specters;  1"°  while  those  who  store  up  vital 
energy  or  heat  (tapas)  by  glowing,  fierce  austerities,  according  to 
procedures  not  prescribed  by  the  sacred  tradition,  are  possessed 
with  a  demonic  determination:  they  are  full  of  hypocrisy  and 
selfishness;  m  they  are  full  of  unconquered  sensual  longings, 
desires  and  passions  and  animalic  strength  (kama-rdga-bala); 
they  pull  and  tear  by  violence  not  only  the  living  elements  and 
beings  that  inhabit  their  bodies  [in  the  guise  of  the  functions 
and  organs  of  the  life- process],  but  even  the  divine  Self,  the 

SD  Yaksas  are  demigods  of  riches  and  fertility,  associated  in  mythology 
with  the  local  hills  and  the  soil;  raksasas  are  goblins  or  imps,  devouring 
monsters  roaming  at  night,  the  fiends  that  disturb  and  deflect  the  efficacy 
of  the  orthodox  sacrifices  offered  to  the  gods.  Needless  to  say,  one  may 
imagine  that  one  is  worshiping  a  god,  while  actually  serving  some  yaksa 
or  rnksasa.  Examples  in  modern  life  are  not  far  to  seek. 

inoPretas  and  bhutas:  these  arc  members  of  the  host  of  minor  demonic 
beings  presided  over  by  Siva,  the  god  of  demonic  terror  and  cosmic 
destruction.  They  represent  the  forces  of  night,  death,  violence,  and 

According  to  the  view  of  the  Rhagavad  Gita,  a  petulent,  jealous  God, 
making  for  himself  an  exclusive  totalitarian  claim,  or  a  god  of  utter  mercy 
and  compassion  with  respect  to  his  lost  sheep,  would  not  represent  the 
divine  essence  in  its  serene  purity  and  aloofness.  Such  forms  are  but 
cloudy  and  distorted  reflections,  mirroring  the  minds  of  the  devotees,  who 
fancy  God  to  be  like  themselves.  The  revengeful,  aggressive  God  is  symp- 
tomatic of  a  mixture  of  rajas  and  tamas,  while  the  divine  being  who 
sacrifices  himself  out  of  a  superabundance  of  compassion  is  a  reflex  of  the 
mixture  of  sattva  and  rajas.  The  quality  of  the  God  speaks  of  the  nature 
not  of  Reality,  but  of  the  devotee. 

101  Posing  as  self-detached  saints,  but  being  actually  full  of  exacting 



godly  principle  [Krsna  says  simply  "Me"],  which  dwells  in  the 
interior  of  the  body.'  "  10- 

The  gods  that  men  worship,  however,  are  not  the  only  symp- 
toms of  their  gunas.  "The  food  also  that  is  liked  by  each  of  them 
is  threefold."  103 

The  gunas,  being  the  constituents  of  the  world  substance  as  it 
evolves  out  of  its  primeval  state  of  perfectly  balanced  undiffer- 
entiation,  are  inherent  in  foods,  as  well  as  in  everything  else. 
"Mild  food,  full  of  juice  and  taste,  solid  and  pleasant,  is  beloved 
by  men  in  whom  sattva  prevails.  Acrid,  bitter,  pungent,  sour, 
salty,  sharp,  harsh,  and  very  hot  food,  burning  {vidahin,  like 

*"'-  lihagai'/irf  Gila  17.  2-6. 

The  piHUiie  of  tapas  belongs  to  the  pre-Ary;iri,  non-Vcdic  heritage  of 
archaic  Indian  asceticism.  It  is  among  the  most  ancient  non-llrahmanic 
elements  ol  the  old  Indian  yoga.  It  is  a  technique  for  the  winning  of 
complete  mastery  over  oneself  through  sustaining  self-inflicted  sufferings 
to  the  utmost  limit  of  intensity  and  time;  also,  it  is  the  way  to  conquer 
the  powers  of  the  universe  itself,  the  macrocosm,  by  subduing  completely 
their  reflection  in  the  microcosm,  one's  own  organism.  What  it  represents 
is  an  expression  of  an  extreme  will  for  power,  a  desire  to  conjure  the  un- 
limited hidden  energies  that  are  stored  in  the  unconscious  vital  part  of 
human  nature. 

The  practice  is  termed  demonic;  for  it  belongs  to  the  way  of  the  anti- 
gods  or  titans.  In  Hindu  mythology  the  titans  are  shown,  time  and  time 
again,  practicing  terrible  austerities  of  this  kind,  for  the  purpose  of  gain- 
ing power  enough  to  overthrow  the  gods  and  usurp  their  scats  of  universal 
government.  Tapas  of  this  kind  represents  ambition,  selfishness,  and  ego- 
tism, on  a  gigantic  scale.  It  is  full  of  violent  activity  (rajas)  and  the  dark- 
ness of  ignorance  (tamas),  clinging  with  the  utmost  tenacity  to  the  phe- 
nomenal sphere  of  the  ego. 

This  type  of  austerity  is  criticized  and  rejected  by  Jainism  (cf.  supra, 
pp.  196-199).  as  well  as  by  the  Bhagavad  Gita.  The  complaint  that  these 
men  "pull  and  tear  by  violence  the  living  elements  and  beings  that  in- 
habit their  organisms,"  is  a  reflection  of  the  Jain  a  fear  of  harming  the 
atoms  of  the  elements  (cf.  supra,  pp.  278-279).  Overdoing  tapas  is  regarded 
as  a  serious  fault  by  both  traditions. 

108  Bhagavad  Gita  1 7.  7. 



liot  curry)  dishes,  are  preferred  by  people  in  whom  rajas  pre- 
vails. This  diet  gives  pain,  distress,  and  diseases  [whereas  the 
sattvic  food  gives  long  life,  strength,  force,  comfort,  delight,  and 
absence  of  disease].  Food  that  is  stale,  tasteless,  and  foul-smelling, 
being  overdue,  left  over  [from  other  meals],  and  ritually  un- 
clean, is  liked  by  people  of  tamasic  disposition."  ,M 

The  attitude  full  of  sattva  asks  for  no  reward  (phala),  and 
carries  out  rituals  according  to  prescription,  the  devotee  simply 
thinking  "offerings  must  be  made."  When,  however,  the  cere- 
monial is  aimed  at  some  reward  or  result,  or  carried  out  in  a 
manner  of  sanctimonious  arrogance  (rlambha)  in  order  to  pose 
as  a  perfect,  saintly  person,  the  attitude  is  that  of  rajas.  Rajas 
produces  egotism  and  ambition.  Whereas  ceremonials  that  do 
not  conform  to  orthodox  prescriptions  (i.e.,  which  are  not  in- 
cluded within  the  pale  of  the  Brahmanical  tradition  but  are 
addressed  either  to  malignant  demons  or  to  beings  foreign  to 
the  accepted  pantheon),  or  where  the  offered  dishes  are  not 
distributed,  later  on,  to  worthy  recipients  (priests  or  Brahmans, 
as  a  rule;  in  brief,  any  ritual  that  ignores  the  Brahmans  and 
their  costly  help),  show  an  attitude,  according  to  this  priestly 
judgment,  in  which  tamas  prevails.10" 

The  balances  of  sattva,  rajas,  and  tamas  can  be  measured  in 
every  detail  of  human  life  and  practice.  Even  in  the  rigorous 
ascetic  austerities  (tapas)  of  the  traditional  hermit  groves  the 
operations  of  all  three  can  be  readily  discerned.  For,  as  we  read: 
"Sattva  prevails  in  tapas  that  is  performed  for  its  own  sake, 
without  an  eye  to  any  reward.  Rajas  prevails  when  tapas  is 
performed  out  of  reverence  [for  a  deity]  and  regard  for 
the  purpose  of  worship,  and  out  of  sanctimonious  arrogance 
(dambha).  Austerity  of  this  kind  is  fickle  and  unstable.  But 
tamas  dominates  when  the  practices  are  undertaken  for  some 
foolish,  mistaken  idea,  with  great  pain  and  suffering  to  oneself, 

'"<  lb.  17.  8-10. 
""■lb.  17.  11-13. 



or  with  a  view  to  annihilating  someone  else  [i.e.,  in  the  service 
of  the  destructive  forces  of  death  and  darkness]."  10S 

Similarly  threefold  are  the  attitudes  toward  charity  (dana), 
the  giving  of  gifts.  The  giving  is  sat t vie  when  the  gifts  are  be- 
stowed upon  worthy  people  who  can  make  no  return  (poor 
people,  orphans,  widows,  beggars,  religious  mendicants,  saints, 
etc.),  at  the  correct  time  and  place  and  with  the  thought,  simply, 
that  one  has  to  make  gifts.  The  charity  is  rajasic  when  it  is  dis- 
pensed with  an  expectation  of  service  in  return,  or  for  the  sake 
of  some  reward  from  the  gods  or  destiny  according  to  the  law 
of  karma  {phalam;  frail),  or  when  the  donation  is  made  with 
reluctance,  or  when  the  gift  is  in  bad  condition,  worn,  or  in 
disrepair.  Tamasic  giving  is  that  in  which  the  gift  is  bestowed 
at  an  inappropriate  place  or  time,  from  improper,  wicked  mo- 
tives, or  with  contempt.107 

"Arjuna  said: 

"  'But  under  what  coercion,  ()  Krsna,  does  a  man,  even 
against  his  will,  commit  sin,  driven,  as  it  were,  by  force?* 

"The  Blessed  Lord  replied: 

"  'Desire  (kdma),  this  furious,  wrathful  passion  (krodha), 
which  is  born  of  the  guna  of  violent  action,  is  the  great  evil,  the 
great  hunger.  Know  that  in  this  world  this  is  the  foul  fiend.""1 

"  'As  fire  is  enveloped  by  smoke,  a  mirror  by  dust,  and  an 
unborn  child  in  the  womb  by  the  integument  that  surrounds  the 
embryo,  so  is  understanding  by  desire.  The  higher  intelligence 
(jnana)  of  man— who  is  intrinsically  endowed  with  perfect  in- 
sight (jiidnin)— is  enveloped  by  this  eternal  fiend  Desire,  which 

"fl/6.  17.  17-19. 

101  lb.  17.  20-22. 

108  Kama,  Desire,  in  the  role  of  the  foul  fiend,  the  evil  one,  figures  in 
exactly  the  same  sense  in  the  legend  of  the  Buddha.  A  beautiful  youth, 
carrying  a  lute,  appears  as  the  tempter,  the  "Worst  One"  (papiyan),  to 
seduce  the  Buddha-to-be,  first  through  the  alluring  charm  of  his  three 
daughters  and  then  through  violence  (cf.  supra,  pp.  205-206). 


assumes  all  possible  forms  at  will  and  is  an  insatiable  conflagra- 
tion. The  sense-forces  (indriymii),  the  mind  (manas),  and  the 
faculty  of  intuitive  awareness  (buddhi),  are  all  said  to  be  its 
abode.  Through  these  it  bewilders  and  confuses  the  Owner  of 
the  Body,  veiling  his  higher  understanding.  Therefore  begin 
by  curbing  the  sense  organs  and  slay  this  Evil  One,  the  de- 
stroyer of  wisdom  (jiiana)  and  realization  (vijndna).109  The  sense- 
forces  are  superior  [to  the  physical  body];  the  mind  is  superior 
to  the  senses;  intuitive  understanding  again  is  superior  to  the 
mind;  superior  to  intuitive  understanding  is  He  [sti:  the  Owner 
of  the  Body,  the  Self].  Therefore,  having  awakened  to  the  fact 
that  He  is  beyond  and  superior  to  the  sphere  of  intuitive  under- 
standing, firmly  stabilize  (he  Self  by  the  Self  [or  thyself  through 
the  Self],  and  slay  the  fiend  who  has  the  form  of  desire  [or  who 
takes  whatever  shapes  he  likes]  and  who  is  difficult  to  over- 
come.' "  110 

"Through  contemplating  sense-objects  inwardly,  visualizing 
and  brooding  over  them,  one  brings  into  existence  attachment 
to  the  objects;  out  of  attachment  comes  desire;  from  desire,  fury, 
violent  passion;  from  violent  passion,  bewilderment,  confusion; 
from  bewilderment,  loss  of  memory  and  of  conscious  self-control; 
from  this  perturbation  or  ruin  of  self-control  comes  the  disap- 
pearance of  intuitive  understanding;  and  from  this  ruin  of  in- 
tuitive understanding  comes  the  ruin  of  man  himself."  in 

The  technique  of  detachment  taught  by  the  Blessed  Krsna 
through  the  GUa  is  a  son  of  "middle  path."  On  the  one  hand 
his  devotee  is  to  avoid  the  extreme  of  clinging  to  the  sphere  of 
action  and  its  fruits  (the  selfish  ptnsuit  of  life  for  personal  aims, 
out  of  acquisitiveness  and  possessiveness),  while  on  the  other 

109  Vijnana:  the  supreme  discriminating  insight  which  realizes  the  Self 
as  utterly  distinct  from  the  personality  with  all  of  its  cravings,  sufferings, 
and  attachments. 

ll*Bhagavad  Glta  3.  36-43. 

»» lb.  s.  62-63. 



hand  the  negative  extreme  of  barren  abstinence  from  every  kind 
and  phase  of  action  is  to  be  shunned  with  equal  care.  The  first 
mistake  is  thai  of  the  norma!  behavior  of  the  naive  worldly 
being,  prone  to  act  and  cagei  for  the  results.  This  only  leads 
to  a  continuation  of  the  hell  of  the  round  of  rebirths— our  usual 
headlong  and  unhelpful  participation  in  the  unavoidable  suf- 
ferings that  go  with  being  an  ego.  Whereas  the  opposite  mistake 
is  that  of  neurotic  abstention;  the  mistake  of  the  absolute  as- 
cetics— such  men  as  the  monks  of  the  Jainas  and  AjTvikas— 112 
who  indulge  in  the  vain  hope  that  one  mnv  i  id  oneself  of  karmic 
influxes  simply  by  mortifying  the  flesh,  stopping  all  mental  and 
emotional  processes,  and  starving  to  death  the  bodily  frame. 
Against  these  the  Bhagavad  Gita  1IS  brings  a  more  modern,  more 
spiritual,  more  psychological  point  of  view.  Act:  for  actually 
you  act  no  matter  which  way  \ou  turn— but  achieve  detachment 
fiom  the  fruits!  Dissolve  thus  the  self-concern  of  your  ego,  and 
with  that  you  will  discover  the  Self!  The  Sri1  is  unconcerned 
with  either  the  individuality  within  (jtva.  puitt.\a)  or  the  world 
without  (n-jiva,  prnhrli). 

This  formula  of  Karma  Yoga,  however,  is  not  the  only  means; 
it  can  be  supported  and  supplemented  by  the  traditional  de- 
vices of  Bhakti  Yoga—the  way  of  fervent  devotion  to  some  incar- 
nation, image,  name,  or  personification  of  one's  cherished  god. 
Indeed,  detachment  from  the  fruits  of  unavoidable  activities  is 
rendered  easier  through  such  an  attitude  of  self-surrender  to  the 
will  of  the  Personal  God- who,  in  turn,  is  but  a  reflex  of  the  very 
Self  that  dwells  within  the  heart  of  every  being.  "Whatever  thou 
dost  do,  whatever  thou  dost  eat,  whatever  thou  dost  offer  in 
sacrificial  oblation,  whatever  thou  dost  give  away  [in  charity], 

112Cf.  supra,  pp.  183-20.].  Though  the  Jainas  ujected  such  painful 
austerities  as  those  ascribed,  in  the  above  recounted  legend,  to  the  titanic 
adversaries  of  ParWanatha,  their  own  asceticism,  as  we  have  seen,  was 
designed  to  eliminate  all  the  life-processes,  and  so  to  culminate  in  death. 

118  As  also  Buddhism;  cf.  infra,  pp.  4690*. 


whatever  austerity  thou  dost  practice,  perform  the  work  as  an 
offering  to  Mc  [the  Divine  Being]"; 114  i.e.,  resign  it,  hand  it 
over,  together  with  its  fruits.  Everything  that  is  done  is  to  be 
regarded  as  a  willing  offering  to  the  Lord. 

Thus  it  appears  that  there  are  two  kinds  of  Karma  Yoga,  con- 
ducing to  the  same  goal:  1.  a  primarily  mental  discipline,  con- 
ducted on  the  pattern  and  basis  of  the  Sarikhya,  whereby  the 
distinction  between  the  gunas  and  the  Self  is  realized,  and  8.  an 
emotional,  devotional  discipline  of  surrender  to  the  Lord 
(livara).  The  latter  is  an  elementary,  more  popular,  prelimin- 
ary stage,  to  be  continued  until  one  has  realized  the  phenomenal 
character  of  the  Lord  himself,  as  well  as  of  the  worshiping  ego. 
These  two  (the  Lord  and  ego)  are,  as  two,  annihilated  in  Brah- 
nian-Atman,  which  is  without  form,  name,  personality,  or  the 
gentle  movements  of  the  heart. 

"Resign  mentally  all  of  thine  activities  to  Me.  Taking  Me  as 
the  highest  goal,  resort  to  the  yoga-practice  of  inner  awareness 
(biiddhi-yoga),u°  and  keep  the  mind  always  fixed  on  Me."  u* 

"To  all  beings  I  am  the  same.  To  Me  there  is  none  either 
hateful  or  dear.  Yet  those  who  devote  [and  assign]  themselves 
to  Me  with  utter  devotion  (bhakti)— they  are  in  Me,  and  I  also 
am  in  them."  '" 

The  consoling,  enlightening  wisdom  of  Kjrsna  is  well  sum- 
marized in  the  phrase  mattah  sarvam  pravartate,  "from  Me 

1,4  Bhagavad  Gitd  9.  27. 

The  device  of  making  an  offering  to  God  of  all  one's  activities  is 
familiar  to  the  Roman  Catholic  Church,  where  exercises  of  mental  as- 
ceticism and  spiritual  love  (Karma  Yoga  and  Bhakti  Yoga)  play  a  prominent 

115  Instead  of  the  yoga  of  bodily  penance,  self-starvation,  and  mortifica- 
tion, of  Jainism,  or  those  demonic  concentrations  of  energy  for  the  win- 
ning of  universal  power  discussed  supra,  pp.  309-400. 

,HI Bhagavad  Gitd  t8.  57. 

117  lb.  9.  29. 



everything  arises."  "*  All  of  man's  feelings,  worries,  joys,  calam- 
ities, and  successes  come  from  God.  Therefore,  surrender  them 
to  him  again  in  thy  mind,  through  bhakti,  and  attain  to  peace! 
Compared  with  the  enduring  reality  of  the  Divine  Being,  thy 
joys  and  calamities  are  but  passing  shadows.  "In  Him  alone 
then  take  thy  refuge  with  all  thy  being,  and  by  His  Grace  shalt 
thou  attain  Supreme  Peace  and  the  Everlasting  Abode."  "• 

Thus  in  the  Bhagavad  Glta  the  old  Brahmanical  way  of  the 
Vedic  "path  of  sacrifice"  (harma-marga)  is  left  far  behind.  The 
routines  for  gaining  access  to  the  Holy  Power  by  virtue  of 
the  magic  of  elaborate  sacrificial  rites  and  offerings  are  definitely 
and  explicitly  discredited  in  favor  of  the  purely  mental  and  psy- 
chic ritualism  of  the  "path  of  knowledge"  (jnana-marga).  And  the 
redeeming  strength  of  this  knowledge  is  praised  in  the  highest 
terms.  "The  ritual  of  sacrifice  that  consists  in  knowledge  is 
superior  to  the  sacrifice  made  of  material  offerings; 120  for  all  ac- 
tivity [as  displayed  in  die  elaborate  rituals  of  traditional  sacri- 
fice] attains  its  consummation  in  knowledge."  1!1  "Even  if  thou 
art  the  most  sinful  of  all  sinners,  yet  by  the  raft  of  knowledge 
alone,  thou  shalt  go  across  all  wickedness.  Just  as  a  fire,  come  to 
full  blaze,  reduces  the  fuel  to  ashes,  so  does  the  fire  of  knowl- 
edge reduce  all  kinds  of  karma  to  ashes.  For  there  exists  here 
[in  this  world]  nothing  so  puiifying  as  knowledge.  When,  in 
good  time,  one  attains  to  perfection  in  yoga,  one  discovers  that 
knowledge  oneself,  in  one's  Self."  122 

This  comes  very  close  to  the  formula  of  the  Yoga-sutras  of 
Patafijali.  The  master  stroke  of  the  Bhagavad  Gita,  as  we  have 
said,  consists  in  its  juxtaposition  and  co-ordination  of  all  the 

«■  lb.  10.  8. 

»» lb.  18.  62. 

120  The  offering  of  cakes,  butter,  mixed  beverages  (mantha),  intoxicating 
liquor  (soma),  etc 

121  Bhagavad  Glta  4.  33. 
"'lb.  4.  56-38. 



basic  disciplines  of  the  complex  religious  inheritance  of  India. 
The  Sarikhya,  a  Brahmanized  form  of  the  old  prc-Aryan  dual- 
ism of  life  and  matter,  was,  in  essence,  something  very  different 
from  the  all-affirming  monism  of  the  Vedic  tradition,  and  yet 
the  latter,  as  matured  and  introverted  by  the  contemplative 
sages  of  the  period  of  the  Upanisads,  was  also  a  way  of  jnana. 
Hence  the  two  could  be  brought  together;  and  in  the  Bhagavad 
Gita  the  union  is  achieved— the  Sarikhya  idea  of  the  pluralism 
of  the  life-monads  being  accepted  as  a  preliminary  view,  rep- 
resenting the  standpoint  of  the  manifested  world.  But  the  the- 
ism of  the  Vedas  also  remains— as  a  convenient  support  for  the 
mind  during  the  earlier  stages  of  its  difficult  progress  toward 
detachment:  the  way  of  bhakti  is  taught,  consequently,  though 
no  longer  linked  necessarily  to  the  specific  rituals  of  the  earlier 
cult  of  exterior,  materia]  sacrifice.  It  is  developed  rather  in  its 
more  personal  and  introverted,  Tantric  form— as  we  shall  ob- 
serve in  a  later  chapter.  And  finally,  since  the  goal  of  all  these 
disciplines  is  knowledge,  the  direct  path  of  the  absolutely  in- 
troverted yogi  is  also  accepted  as  an  effective  way.  "Having  in  a 
cleanly  spot  established  his  seat,  firm,  neither  too  high  nor  too 
low,  made  of  a  cloth,  a  skin,  and  kusa-grass,  arranged  in  the 
proper  way,  there  seated  on  that  seat,  making  the  mind  one- 
pointed  and  subduing  the  action  of  the  imagining  faculty  and 
the  senses,  let  him  practice  yoga  for  the  purification  of  the  heart. 
Let  him  hold  his  body  firmly,  head  and  neck  erect  and  still, 
gazing  at  the  tip  of  his  nose  and  not  looking  around.  With  the 
heart  serene  and  fearless,  firm  in  the  vow  of  continence,  with 
the  mind  controlled  and  ever  thinking  of  Me,  let  him  sit,  hav- 
ing Me  as  his  supreme  goal.m  Thus  always  keeping  the  mind 

128  Compare  Patafijali:   "By  sacrificing  all  to  Isvara  comes  samadhi" 
(Yoga-sutras  ».  44).  A  primary  aim  of  yoga,  as  we  have  seen,  is  to  steady 
the  mind  by  withdrawing  the  senses  from  the  outer  sphere  and  thus  put- 
ting them  to  rest.  The  mind  can  be  concentrated  on  an  inner  object— 


steadfast,  the  yogi  of  subdued  mind  attains  the  peace  residing 
in  Me— the  peace  that  culminates  in  Nirvana."  12* 

And  as  for  the  state  on  earth  of  the  one  who  has  attained: 

"He  who  is  the  same  to  friend  and  foe,  alike  in  facing  honor 
and  dishonor,  alike  in  heat  and  cold,  in  pleasure  and  pain,  who 
is  free  from  all  attachment  [to  the  sphere  of  conflicting  experi- 
ences and  pairs-of-opposites],  to  whom  censure  and  praise  are 
equal,  and  who  remains  silent  and  content  with  anything  [good 
or  evil,  just  as  it  com